“I have to write, I have to write, I have to write”. So speaks Trigorin in Chekhov’s The Seagull. A play that addresses the infinite miseries of being a writer with its youngest author character ending up dead. True, trials in love didn’t help his mental stability but perhaps he would have been more mentally stable in the first place if he hadn’t been a writer.
In fact The Seagull seems to be a play warning against the creative life entirely.
Like Trigorin I seem to suffer from this compulsion to write (hence why I’m on my computer eyelids drooping at 11:30 pm). I have a sickness and that is the urge to be creative. I have honestly decided that creativity is a disease. Writing in particular, because with writing you become quarantined within your own four walls and with your own mental company. At least with directing you come into contact with other creatives who also share your disease, and life is easier in the madhouse with other inmates.
Writing is a different story altogether. Only you can experience the dramatic highs and drastic lows. You go over the story in your mind so many times that even a simple child’s story begins to make no sense anymore. You tell yourself your work is awful countless times a day and you feel relieved when you’ve managed to come up with some tiny inkling of a new idea. In the light of the next day this idea will, of course, look shit.
Like a diseased being you gradually begin to lose your friends as you become a miserable person wallowing in self doubt and having insane conversations with imaginary people when you aren’t doing that.
Writing is an utterly horrible act and yet there is some of us who somehow love it. Today I bumped into a friend, we had a conversation about writing. He said this:
“I think you have to be slightly psychotic to be a writer. If you haven’t got it I just wouldn’t try”.
I’d have to agree; you wouldn’t actively try to catch a disease you don’t have would you? If you don’t believe me you can also have a read of this interview with Lucinda Coxon where she compares writing for theatre to “a 24-hour, horrible, immersive domestic misery.”Now I’ll get back to mine, thank you very much.