Hello, my name is Grace and I really want to do nothing more than be a writer but the only thing that I feel good writing are very melancholic suspense books and my parents don't think I should be writing such sad or borderline creepy story lines. What do you think I should do?


Let’s see, firstly, you are the only person who gets to decide what kind of things you write. Not your friends, your lovers, your parents, your children. You. Other people do not even get to vote. The art you make is not a democracy, nor are the stories you tell.

Secondly, and I tell you this because you might want to tell your parents… in my relatively wide experience, the single most depressed group of writers I’ve ever run into are comedians-who-write-their-own-material and funny writers. Not all of them are troubled and worried offstage, but a lot of them are: they look sad, haunted, and they seem to worry a lot about everything.

Horror writers on the other hand, seem almost terrifyingly happy, well-adjusted and cheerful. Perhaps they get it all out onto the page. But they are easy-going folk, who laugh at jokes (writers of humour rarely laugh at jokes. They nod, when a joke is made, and say “That’s funny,” flatly) and go on picnics and are very nice company if you can overlook their occasional tendency over dinner to discuss ways to dispose of inconveniently dead bodies.

So I would write whatever you want to write, Grace, and not worry about your parents.


Growing up, my most fond memories was visiting abandoned places with my brother.  To this day, if opportunity presents itself, I bring my camera and take a few pictures.  These are not my work ofcourse, but I hope you enjoy the visual beauty and maybe it brings fond memories of your own adventures.

Part II:

  1. Abandoned Construction of Nuclear Power Plant. Photo By brokenview
  2. Chatillon Car Graveyard in Belgium
  3. Jiancing Historic Trail in Taipingshan National Forest in Taiwan. Photo By T.-C
  4. Abandoned theme park in nara dreamland, japan. Photo by michaeljohngrist
  5. Clock tower
  6. Old shack in a snow field, Idaho. Photo By James Neeley
  7. Abandoned terminal at Nicosia Airport. Photo By eyesfutur
  8. Milan, New Orleans. Photo By JustUptown
  9. Abandoned church in autumn. Photo by *CainPascoe
  10. Abanonded steam engine in Uyuni train cemetery, Bolivia. Photo By jimmyharris

When was super depressed, I wasn’t working—I was always too depressed. Hemingway did his best work when he didn’t drink, then he drank himself to death and blew his head off with a shotgun. Someone asked John Cheever, “What’d you learn from Hemingway?” and he said “I learned not to blow my head off with a shotgun.” I remember going to the Michigan poetry festival, meeting Etheridge Knight there and Robert Creeley. Creeley was so drunk—he was reading and he only had one eye, of course, and had to hold his book like two inches from his face using his one good eye. But you look at somebody like George Saunders—I think he’s the best short story writer in English alive—that’s somebody who tries very hard to live a sane, alert life.

You’re present when you’re not drinking a fifth of Jack Daniel’s every day. It’s probably better for your writing career, you know? I think being tortured as a virtue is a kind of antiquated sense of what it is to be an artist.

In an interview with The FixMary Karr debunks the toxic mythology that it is necessary to be damaged in order to be creative. My own vehement defiance to that mythology is what led me to choose Ray Bradbury – the ultimate epitome of creating from joy rather than suffering – as the subject of my contribution to The New York Times’ The Lives They Lived.

Pair with Karr on why writers write.

(via explore-blog)

I don’t believe you have to be tortured but I do believe it works.