Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Lost works ...

Following on from my discussion of the link between creativity and insecurity, a friend made the following observation on my Facebook page, The Reluctant Author: "I wonder how many works of art, great or otherwise, have been lost to fragile self-confidence." This led yet another friend to mention an acquaintance of hers who has stories to tell and who writes very well, but perhaps lacks the self-confidence to put the stories onto paper.

It led me to think of some of the great artists of all time - van Gogh, Monet, Rembrandt, among others; a Dr Who episode from the last series showed the Doctor and Amy visiting a very insecure van Gogh who hated his work, and those around him laughed at him. This may not be entirely accurate, though it is known that he suffered from anxiety and mental illness, but one shudders to think what works could have been lost if these men were insecure and lacked confidence in their artistic abilities.

Consider too of some of the great thinkers and inventors; Albert Einstein, Galileo Galilei and Leonardo da Vinci among others. What if they had balked at writing down and studying what they did ... we would have lost access to some of the greatest thinkers and scientists of all time. But yet again, how many others failed where they succeeded and pressed on - sometimes despite opposition.

Just thinking (and writing) about it nearly doesn't do justice to the enormity of what could have been lost ... but how much else has been, and continues to be, lost?


  1. Great post. This is a topic close to my heart. I actually feel like I only have self-confidence when I write. I'm more confident about communicating through my writing than I am talking to people. And I found that Doctor Who episode very moving.

  2. If we are writers, we should write. And sometimes we don't know we are until we start. The trick, then, is to write if you have any inclination at all. And keep writing no matter what ANYONE says.