“Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will none the less get something that looks remarkably like it. Set yourself a ‘stint,’ and see that you do that ‘stint’ each day; you will have more words to your credit at the end of the year. See that your pores are open and your digestion is good. That is, I am confident, the most important rule of all. Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.”
– Jack London, Getting Into Print, 1903
Jack London worked eighteen-hour days and wrote fifty books in sixteen years. At age forty, he overdosed on morphine, which some people suspect was a suicide but was not confirmed as one. He is said to have been an alcoholic and suffered many illnesses due to lack of health. On his atheism he said, “I believe that when I am dead, I am dead. I believe that with my death I am just as much obliterated as the last mosquito you and I squashed.”
Inquisitive, misanthropic, antisocial, and deeply thoughtful artists are often plagued by their bleak and cold sober grasp of reality. Constantly observing, questioning, evaluating, quantifying, reassessing, deliberating, contemplating; and often times dwelling in the pragmatic awareness of reality that can’t be censored by their incessant mind.
As a writer it’s both insightful and dispiriting to reflect on the lives and thought processes of those before us who have had success in the arts. So often I find it’s worth it to wade through the dark swamp to find a speck of gold that an author left behind. Despite the depression, addiction, and suicidal tendencies that many renowned writers have dealt with, there is always a deep rooted pattern of consciousness that is so original, unique, and timeless that existed to fuel their engine to express, create, teach, and inspire.
And it’s a source of inspiration. It goes to show no matter how ferocious the demons one faces in their life, if they have an even deeper well of hunger and drive that can push them through the torment, they can overcome and achieve every bit of success they make the decision to achieve.