C. The answer -- the short answer to all those questions is, "Yes." Yes, I'mafraid of all those things. And I always have been. And I'm afraid of many many morethings besides that people can't even guess at. Like seaweed, and other things that arescary. But, when it comes to writing the thing that I've been sort of thinking aboutlately, and wondering about lately, is why? You know, is it rational? Is it logical thatanybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put onthis Earth to do. You know, and what is it specifically about creative ventures thatseems to make us really nervous about each other's mental health in a way that other careers kind of don't do, you know? Like my dad, for example, was a chemicalengineer and I don't recall once in his 40 years of chemical engineering anybodyasking him if he was afraid to be a chemical engineer, you know? It didn't -- thatchemical engineering block John, how's it going? It just didn't come up like that, youknow? But to be fair, chemical engineers as a group haven't really earned a reputationover the centuries for being alcoholic manic-depressives. (Laughter)7. When she asks, "is it rational?" what is
in this question?8. Do you think people were really
put on the Earth
to do something? If so,who put them there? Is someone or something making a choice for you?9. She later gives a joke justification for people's worries about writers. Whatis it?D. We writers, we kind of do have that reputation, and not just writers, butcreative people across all genres, it seems, have this reputation for being enormouslymentally unstable. And all you have to do is look at the very grim death count in the20th century alone, of really magnificent creative minds who died young and often attheir own hands, you know? And even the ones who didn't literally commit suicideseem to be really undone by their gifts, you know. Norman Mailer, just before hedied, last interview, he said "Every one of my books has killed me a little more." Anextraordinary statement to make about your life's work, you know. But we don't even blink when we hear somebody say this because we've heard that kind of stuff for solong and somehow we've completely internalized and accepted collectively thisnotion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked and that artistry, inthe end, will always ultimately lead to anguish.10. Do you agree with her assertion that writers and creative people in generalhave a reputation for being unstable? Do you think that it is earned?11. What does she mean when she says that there were some young mindswho died at their own hands?12. Do you think that artistry ultimately leads to anguish? Why or why not?