Why are writers alcoholics? Why are writers depressed? Why are writers weird? Why are writers so sad?
Excuse me! A writer could become offended. Where does this peculiar and skewed view of the writing profession come from? I mean, I like a glass of wine as much of the next person, but I know when to stop. And I’m not that miserable, I’m mostly quite cheerful in fact.
As for weird, some might say having read my books, that there must be some truth in that one! Well what I’d say is, never trust a person who isn’t at least a little weird, because they are the mad ones.
The legend of the crazy author has grown over the years but it is perhaps less true now than it ever was and I think it was probably always more a myth than a reality.
There used to be a time, in the first half of the 20th century, when alcoholism seemed to be all the go for authors. The men in particular seemed to revel in their reputations as drunks. Why? Perhaps they thought it made them seem more bohemian, perhaps they had time on their hands, maybe some genuinely felt it made them write better, who knows.
These days it is different. I’ve met lots of authors, as well as being one myself. If I had to hazard a guess I would say that there are more women than men these days. If there aren’t now there soon will be. I can report I’ve not found them to be dipsomaniacs, nor have I found them a particularly miserable bunch.
For the most part they seem quiet and unassuming, serious about their work and their art, but not noisy or showy about it. Quite different from the boozy, needy, weird creature of public myth. The truth is, we are much more boring than fiction gives us credit for.
It’s tragic I know, the myth is a good deal more exciting than the reality. Perhaps Google and the public are doing us a favour by making us seem more rock’n’roll than we are.