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“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition”

Graham Greene: The Argument for Writing as Therapy

Graham Greene: The Argument for Writing as Therapy

So says Graham Greene. He should know, because his biography bears witness to how writing became therapeutic in his own life.

“The recurring themes of treachery and betrayal in Greene’s writing stem from his troubled school years where he was often tormented for being the headmaster’s son. After several suicide attempts, Greene left school one day and wrote to his parents that he did not wish to return. This culminated in his being sent to a therapist in London at age fifteen. His analyst, Kenneth Richmond, encouraged him to write and introduced him to his circle of literary friends which included the poet Walter de la Mare.”

There is no denying that most writers use their personal experience to base their fiction, but somehow, I find that I do my worst writing when I try writing as therapy. It is always the unselfconscious writing exercise that gives birth to an interesting character, or a particular voice.

It is this character that takes over in later drafts, and the story forms of itself. In fact, in my writing, I feel like my only credit lies in editing and /or re-writing.

Writing for me is less therapy and more entertainment, a sort of interesting time-suck that leads to stories, more or less involuntarily.

I have tried writing on the basis of an idea, a place, an experience. But it always seems forced. Only when they go somewhere deep into my unconscious and surface much later that they resonate with me, and I hope, would do so with my eventual audience.

Daily writing exercise, here I come.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • DarcKnyt says:

    If you’ve figured out how to make your star shine more brightly, Damyanti, then I’ll do whatever I can t support and encourage it to shine!

    🙂

    Thanks Darc….😀

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