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Does An Artist Need to Be Tragic in Order to Succeed? Posted on 25 Apr 21:06

An alarming quote from Lana Del Rey in an interview for The Guardian back in June of 2014 found her asserting, "I wish I was dead already." Alluding to her idols, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, Del Rey's wistfulness over the freedom one can achieve through death poses the question: Does an artist need to be tragic to succeed?

Seeming to intuit that, yes, an artist does need to possess some sort of fatal flaw in order to be compelling to a mass audience, Lana Del Rey is a larger representation of the creator using his or her life as fodder for fans and scholars alike. Luring people in with a resonant tale inspired by true, doleful events is, indeed, usually the best way to generate substantial and long-lasting interest.

Among the ranks of great writers, the depressive, alcoholic likes of Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Charles Bukowski are amid the many tragic figures who met a destructive and grim end, and all for love and commitment to their art–and perhaps hatred for life (though, of course, Bukowski always found comfort in the company of women).

All the greatest painters and sculptors, too, have exemplified a life plagued by misery. From Rodin and Michelangelo to Van Gogh and Degas, the tendency toward loneliness and depression remains a constant theme of the formidable artist.

Where music is concerned, there is also no shortage of examples of affliction. Ian Curtis of Joy Division, Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake are among the numerous instances of deeply saddened musicians who couldn’t continue to carry on in this world. And so, to be quite frank, the tragic artist is, lamentably, the most bankable way to endure in the collective consciousness on an everlasting level.


Why The Opiate? Posted on 19 Mar 09:54

The Opiate grew from a dissatisfaction with the current landscape in the world of literary magazines. There was a time when the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald (a plagiarist, but whatever) and J.D. Salinger were appearing (whether in serial or short story form) frequently in magazines like Scribner's Monthly and Harpers. Where have those times gone? Why has literature been relegated to the blog? Why are chap-books and zines the extent of what people are willing to publish when their work deserves so much more? It's time to take back the literary magazine, and The Opiate is the first step.