Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is writing a form of self-help?

On her blog, Charlotte Higgins opens a debate as to whether writing is a form of self-help.
Speaking about his new novel, Deaf Sentence, he [David Lodge] said, "I find most writing therapeutic," adding that Graham Greene had once expressed bafflement that most people did not write, or paint, or do creative work of some kind as an outlet for anxiety.

Julian Barnes, on the other hand, expressed nothing but disdain about the writing-as-therapy notion when he spoke at the festival on Sunday. "In certain areas of misery-lit it might work," he told the audience. "You have a horrible life, you write about it, you make a lot of money; people start to love you; your life gets better. But it's just as likely to have the opposite effect. You have a miserable life; you write about it; nobody wants to publish it; you end up even more miserable."

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