excerpt | tortured artist
I am interested in your opinion about the myth of the tortured artist, and its usefulness for a society badly in need of healthy models of creativity. Most of the writers I know are struggling to make important art, but they are also struggling, equally hard, to live healthily, connected, value-creating daily lives. Do you think we are moving past praising the glamour of the nonfunctioning creative genius? I hope that we are. I find the idea of unsupported genius deeply distasteful: it disrespects mothers, and fathers, and teachers, and lovers, and all the accidents and opportunities and coincidences that conspire, along the way, to help create and launch an artistic sensibility. We need a new model: one that doesn’t depend on outmoded gender norms, destructive values, and the profoundly ugly idea that to be indebted is to be demeaned. Kindness is a core value for any artist, but most especially for a fiction writer: a self-centered person can’t see the world from another person’s point of view.
catton, e. (2013) the luminaries