what's wrong with death, sir? what are we so mortally afraid of? why can't we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity, and decency, and god forbid, maybe even humor? death is not the enemy, gentlemen. if we are going to fight a disease, let's fight one of the most terrible diseases of all, indifference.
- robin williams, as patch adams
creative people across all genres, it seems, have a reputation for being enormously mentally unstable. all you have to do is look at the very grim death count in the 20th century alone, of really magnificent creative minds who died young and often at their own hands. and even the ones who didn't literally commit suicide seem to be really undone by their gifts... just before he died, norman mailer said "every one of my books has killed me a little more." an extraordinary statement to make about your life's work.
but we don't even blink when we hear somebody say this because we've completely internalized and accepted collectively this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked and that artistry, in the end, will always ultimately lead to anguish.
and the question that i want to ask everybody is, are you guys all cool with that idea? are you comfortable with that? i'm not at all comfortable with that assumption. i think it's odious. and i also think it's dangerous, and i don't want to see it perpetuated into the next century. i think it's better if we encourage our great creative minds to live.
- elizabeth gilbert, on genius