the romantic and the depressed

I decided to be super organized and actually planned out all my blog posts for the month of January, to ensure I would actually, you know, write blogs.

However, I took one look at today’s topic, crumpled it, and hurled it out the window into the snow to freeze.

I have thus arrived with no particular topic in mind. January is almost over, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. The first month of 2022 had some nice things for me, but in all honesty, the beginning of this “new” (I personally think it’s just 2020 recycled again) has felt a bit…

Unfun.

But am I gonna just sit here and complain about it to you all? No. Well, maybe.

I have been thinking a lot about the “depressed writer trope” (in fact, I’ve been thinking about it since last summer, since sitting in a drive-thru at 8pm with rain streaking down the windows, reflecting the tears streaming down my cheeks. Ok, they weren’t streaming. I had cried earlier that day but by that time I had stopped crying and was more focused on getting a chicken sandwich).

We (aka writers) tend to scorn the Depressed Writer Trope. You don’t have to be sad and binging on booze to be a great writer. You don’t have to be an absolute miserable wreck to produce a great piece of literature. As many other writers have observed, artists don’t tend to perform or create well when stuck in a bad mental space. Creative output often goes down when our feelings go down. One thing goes awry, and the whole Titanic goes under.

I agree with this thesis (my one caveat though is that as much as artists create out of joy, we also create out of suffering. But honestly that’s a whole other topic).

But, there’s another side to the Depressed Writer Trope. It’s the romanticizing of it. The romanticizing of the struggling writer, the suffering writer, the writer poring over their work alone in the dark. Stacks of rejections piling up. Sloughing ahead though the whole world stands against them.

And that, I think, is in another category.

So how does this wrap back to me sitting in a drive-thru waiting for a chicken sandwich with rain streaking down the windows? Well, that morning I had received a rejection letter. It wasn’t the first one I’d had that year, and certainly wasn’t the last. But it stuck out to me more than usual, because I was so sure of the piece and so sure I’d found the perfect place for it. As mentioned beforehand, there was some crying involved.

And maybe that’s why we romanticize it. Because we’re all the Depressed Writer, and if it isn’t romantic, than gosh darn it, it’s gonna be a drag.

Because what is happening to the writer in the Depressed Writer Trope? They are struggling through a terrible bout of writer’s block. They are receiving rejection after rejection. They are suffering through imposter syndrome.

These are things that every writers goes through on some level. So why can’t it be romantic? Why can’t we find something beautiful in this ridiculous struggle?

Let me sit moodily in my car for a minute, as if I’m in a smoke-filled café in Paris, discussing empathicalism. Let me collect every rejection letter as if they are scars that I’m proud to show. Let me believe that just by sitting at my computer every day, scribbling in a notebook, I’m doing something that’s pretty cool, even if no one knows it.

Because it is cool. Writing is cool.

6 responses to “the romantic and the depressed”

  1. I feel this so much. </3
    Something I try to tell myself though, is that none of "this" will be wasted. I like to think that years from now, I will look back at this time and appreciate all of the hardships, even if the outcome isn't what I wanted. There is probably some sort of lesson buried under our misery, and we might not realize it until later. (At least that's what I'm hoping for.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES. none of it is ever watsed

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “I had cried earlier that day but by that time I had stopped crying and was more focused on getting a chicken sandwich” <<< This is first-sentence-of-a-novel material right here XD
    Oh, I feel this though. I can see how romanticizing the "depressed writer trope" can be a probably–like if writers are actually seeking to be depressed because they think it's romantic–but on the other hand, rejection letters and imposter syndrome are more than likely going to bring depression at some point, so might as well own it when it comes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “own it when it comes” yep yep!!

      Liked by 1 person

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