Creative types: read this, avoid death.

A witty and profound meditation on why mental illness and death stalk the modern artist, and how to protect oneself while courting one’s genius.

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, you know. 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.

[…]

And the question that I want to ask everybody here today is are you guys all cool with that idea?  I’m not at all comfortable with that assumption.  I think it’s odious.

http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

Highly recommended!