The Writer's Curse: A Short Poem

Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde | Source
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The Writer's Curse

Why do writers keep late hours,

Working through the night,

Sometimes rising early too

Before the break of light?


The urge to jot down every thought

Is a feeling that remains,

As though it's ink instead of blood

That courses through our veins.

There is no detail in the world

That escapes a writer's eyes,

Constantly in search of truth,

Sifting through the lies.


What is it that drives our pens

And fills our hearts with fire?

Is it some supernatural force

That creates such deep desire?

Or are we victims of a curse

By some witch or demon cast,

And destined to keep writing

Until we breath our last?

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What Is a Writer?

When we utter the words, "I want to be a writer," we have already formed an image of what a writer is. Often that image is more visual than verbal, and no matter what we "see" when we think of a "real" writer, the problem is that often, we don't see ourselves.

If your inner "vision of a writer" doesn't match what you see in the mirror, you automatically doubt your ability to "become" what you imagine a writer to be. This concern is often added to by successful writers whose appearance and lives bear little resemblance to our own. If we don't measure up to that image, how can our writing?

... We need to break down the stereotypes of what a writer looks like...

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Most writers, however, don't fit into the stereotype of the Stephen Kings, James Patersons, or J.K. Rowlings who are often in the public eye. In fact, many many writers have no public persona and we have no inkling what they are like in real life. Some even hide behind pen names so the public doesn't know who they are.

So, the next time you find yourself wondering what a "real" writer looks like, don't pick up a writing magazine. Instead, go look in the mirror. Then, finish that piece and put it in the mail.

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The Troubled Writer

It may be an overused stereotype "the troubled writer," but below is a list of ten famous authors who either committed or attempted suicide.

  • Jack London.
  • Kurt Vonnegut.
  • Hunter S. Thompson.
  • Sylvia Plath.
  • John Kennedy Toole.
  • Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Virginia Woolf.
  • Raymond Chandler.

Most of these and many others have at some stage tried to ease their troubles through either drugs or alcohol. The following short poem may express what some writers feel the next morning.

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The Morning After!

Waking up in the early morn,

As the sun comes up at dawn,

Lying prostrate on the lawn.

I dread the technicolour yawn,

Always contain carrots and corn.


Like caught watching online porn,

I don't want to face the scorn.

Or a sheep, that's just been shorn,

My pen and paper's feeling worn.

Oh what words will be my spawn?

© 2016 John Hansen

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Comments 29 comments

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 weeks ago from sunny Florida

Well said...a writer who is thwarted by the many intrusions that life often brings us finds your words ever true (as no doubt do those who DO get to write as often as they wish.)

You kept me captivated from beginning to end, Jodah.

Angels are once again on the way. shared ps


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

I've never doubted it but sometimes had to pay the bill with other less enjoyable pursuits. I particularly enjoyed the first poem. Everyone in my family has a book in them and many poems as well, whether they have natural talent or not.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 3 weeks ago from london

A great write. Excellent first poem and some good writing ideas. Yes, some writers had terrible lives. Have a great day. Good night.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading ps. Glad this kept you captivated. Blessings.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Flourish, it is good that you have always had confidence in your ability as a writer. Many don't. I think most of us have a book in us it is just get get it published that is the problem. Thanks for reading.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Much appreciated Manatita. Glad you liked the first poem. I only wrote the second one to fill in space and it is quite frivolous.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 2 weeks ago from Riga, Latvia

Writers are driven by inspiration and the whispering of muses. When my inspiration is in overdrive I tend to keep the longest and oddest hours. Enjoyed this.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

Writing is sometimes pure joy, then when you want to write so badly, nothing comes together. I guess you could call it The Writer's Curse. It has always puzzled me why so many famous writers were suicidal, maybe they had periods of wanting to write, but nothing matured. I've learned to wait on my muse. She comes out of hiding at the most unexpected times. Love your poetry!


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 2 weeks ago

Oh John

Your exclusive poem aroused in me doubt whether I understand the English word "curse"

Could it be so?

(Not willing to the repeat the word for its antagonistic nature.) Having been introduced to the written word, influenced by virtuous vocabulary,( my first published poem at eleven), though this isn't about me, only explaining my bewilderment and a way trying to fit in. I always believed the source of inspiration coming as following line we sang "When the Spirit of the Lord moves on my heart I will sing like David sang, I will write as David wrote," spontaneously, joyously free and easy, purely as the ideas accumulate. I always thought the writers are mostly radiant elements of the society, lifting up the spirits of those whose wings are heavy burdened by the life's urgency.

If that could be so that the writers are under the curse ?!

Oh brother, if there are no exceptions , possibility is Michael ain’t.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 2 weeks ago from Victoria, Australia

Fellow Aussie - what a great write! Both poetry and prose and then interesting images. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Rasma, the "inspiration and whispering of muses" is a much nicer way to describe what drives a writer than a "curse" but occasionally when you are going without sleep, or have that burning desire to write but just can't think of the right words..then it feels like a curse. My hours are odd also.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Ruby, you described the feeling well. I would be interested to see suicide statistics comparing writers and artists to the general population. I know my muse is always there hiding in the background, but what I think I want to write and what she has in store for me is often quite different. Glad you enjoy my poetry.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Michael it is hard to explain. Many writers are driven by different things.. As you say, it could be "when the Spirit of the Lord moves on my heart..", some call it being inspired by a muse. I use the word "curse" because many famous writers have been troubled by anxiety and depression and much of their best writing came at those times, also the long and strange hours when we find the inspiration..some may see it more as a curse than a blessing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Gidday Blossom! Thanks for the encouraging comment. So glad you enjoyed this one. Have a good one.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 weeks ago

John, I hope you spawn a writing masterpiece

A bestseller, and you words and thoughts will keep

Because I also hope you get some sleep

Or you will be too tired to shave the sheep

*

*

Blessings dear friend, love you poems keep on writing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Haha Shyron. I hope those things come true also. From one poet to another, thank you for the support. Blessings back.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 2 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

A beautiful poem and an equally excellent information about the writing career and hardships or woes of writers. Greatly inspiring hub.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading this Venkat. Glad you found it interesting and inspiring.


Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 2 weeks ago from Florida

Oh yes, I can't decide if I need to express all these thoughts I have, or if I can even sort them enough to do so lately. I am bombarded by all kinds of thoughts these days. Even so, I have decided that I will calm my nerves a bit first. I wrote about climate change, and maybe I would talk about another issue that is important soon. However, my poetry would be in a mean tone right now I fear. So, as it does offend so many if I'm too dark, or protesting, I think it best to lay off for just a little while. Great Poetry!!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Missy. It is a difficult situation when something has deeply upset us and as a writer we feel compelled to express our disappointment or anger. Sometime it is good to just write those things down on paper or in a private file but not publish it..just keep for yourself. That way you don't upset others or get hateful comments directed at you. You still get it out of your system though. Have a good day.


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 2 weeks ago

Oh Jodah, your powerful statement made its permanent place in my collection as a historical quote . Thanks.

"It is a difficult situation when something has deeply upset us and as a writer we feel compelled to express our disappointment or anger."

John Hansen


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you, Michael.


Michael Milec 2 weeks ago

You are welcome Jonah.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 weeks ago from Central Florida

I feel much the same as Ruby stated in her comment. I no longer force my muse. When I did, I (and she) got burned out. Now we're both taking a vacation from the stress of relying on our writing skills to pay the bills. I'm once again acting on my accounting knowledge as the vehicle out of poverty.

When my muse shows up, I listen and respond. I don't push her. Our creative efforts are more effective when I let her call the shots.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

I agree, Shauna. You shouldn't try to force your muse. I patiently (sometimes impatiently) wait on mine to inspire me. If it isn't happening I simply find something else to direct my energy into until the time is right. Glad you have your accounting skills to fall back on.


jo miller profile image

jo miller 2 weeks ago from Tennessee

I still don't call myself a writer, but I've always had this urge to write things down. All around my house I have little notebooks with my scribblings.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Sounds like you have "the writer's curse", Jo. You must be a writer.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 11 days ago from Massachusetts, USA

Excellent hub, John. We write because we have to. Troubling circumstances this past summer caused me to not write a creative syllable for months. (I guess I will never be a Sylvia Plath...one of my favorite writers.) Thank goodness, it didn't last. Although one cannot force a muse to appear, he or she will show up, unexpectedly.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 days ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks, Genna. Sorry for your troubling circumstances that dampened your ability to write. I have faced a few myself this year. You are right, our muses tend to appear when least expected. I see you have written a new hub so will be over to read it as soon as I can.

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    Jodah profile image

    John Hansen (Jodah)699 Followers
    277 Articles

    John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.



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