In catching up on what had accumulated in my inbox and on Facebook while I was gadding about at Swancon - which was a brilliant weekend by the way - I came across this article, linked to by my Clarion South mate, Peter M. Ball.
One of my peeves is the myth of the suffering artist. I'm of the opinion that if those artists - whether they were writers, composers, sculptors or involved in any other form of creative work - who were physically or mentally ill or starving or otherwise desperately trying to survive, had not had to contend with illnesses or other problems, they may well have produced more and possibly greater work. Looking around, just at artists I know personally - and I know quite a few in various parts of the art world, I can tell you that being ill, grief-stricken or struggling to feed yourself or your family means you don't produce what you would or could if those things didn't impinge on your life. All those things steal from your creativity and the time you can give to it.
I'm not saying that all the things that happen to us as we live and develop don't impact on our art. They certainly do and life experience is a great informer of art but dying of TB in a garret or something similar isn't an essential. The essential is living, so you grow and learn from it, then translating that into art.