Authors: A Troubled Bunch?

Have you seen this from the other day?:

Screen capture of the Telegraph.
Screen capture of the Telegraph.

This sentence especially grabbed my attention, with his ex-wife claiming:

Sir Salman Rushdie needed consoling every year he did not win the Nobel Prize for literature….

As in any relationship, only they know fully what went on between them. If what she says is accurate, he has insecurities about himself as an author. He may well also not be the easiest of “life partners.”

Doubts about one’s work and worth is a feeling with which most writers can of course identify. Indeed given Rushdie does, nearly any other writer having doubts is almost required. If we don’t one might say we’d lost touch with literary reality.

A broader question is this: Are writers inherently more personally troubled on average than anyone else?

That sort of thing has been asked for probably as long as there have been writers. The one I knew best, my uncle, had his issues. Yet who among us, author or not, would want to see a disgruntled ex sharing “choice” bits (possibly taken out of context) about us in a newspaper interview or in a book?

Examples of troubled authors are all around us. But I don’t think writers by definition are, or have to be, a personal mess. Being relatively new to this, uh, I certainly hope not. 🙂