Like that, you know. The answer -- the short answer to all those questions is, "Yes." Yes, I'm afraid of all those things.
And I always have been. And I'm afraid of many, many more things besides that people can't even guess at, like seaweed and other things that are scary.
But, when it comes to writing, the thing that I've been sort of thinking about lately, and wondering about lately, is why?
You know, is it rational? Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do.
And what is it specifically about creative ventures that seems 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 chemical engineer and I don't recall once in his 40 years of chemical engineering anybody asking him if he was afraid to be a chemical engineer, you know?
"That chemical-engineering block, John, how's it going?" It just didn't come up like that, you know?
But to be fair, chemical engineers as a group haven't really earned a reputation over the centuries for being alcoholic manic-depressives.
We writers, we kind of do have that reputation, and not just writers,
but creative people across all genres, it seems, have this reputation for being enormously mentally unstable.
And 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, you know?
And even the ones who didn't literally commit suicide seem to be really undone by their gifts, you know.
Norman Mailer, just before he died, last interview, he 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 heard that kind of stuff for so long and somehow 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.