Notes from the Armchair: A Good Reminder

By Laura Zats

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that everyone who might ever consider reading this agrees with the fact that the world is burning. It feels like Superman has been spinning our planet backwards, but instead of just rewinding an hour or so, we’re continuing with our lives but seeing the structure of our country revert to the 1950s.

This has not been a good year for mental health across the board. And now, I look forward into the future, and every day, that hope that everything will just go back to normal gets a bit dimmer.

It’s hard to create in a time like now. And even more importantly, it’s hard to live in it.

In the arts—particularly in the book world, we’re told that one must suffer to make art. That only true greatness happens when you pay for it in blood, sweat, tears, relationships, happiness, and safety.

But that’s bullshit. We all know it, too. But we don’t always know it.

And right now, in this world, it’s more important than ever to be reminded.

Good art comes from practice. It comes from discipline. It comes from having an open mind. It comes from learning from your peers.

I see a lot of writers right now leaning into the difficulty ahead—trying to capitalize on the hard so they can get to the good.

But that’ not going to get you to a work of genius. All that’s going to do is—best case scenario—burn you out. At the worst? It might kill you.

September 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day, and so I feel it is a propos to have all of us check in with ourselves. How are we doing? Do we have the resources we need to stay healthy in the coming days? Weeks? Months? Is your work helping or hurting you?

As someone with life-long mental illness, I want you to know that I see you. We all do. Because I bet that the person liking your tweets or sitting next to you in writers’ group is going through what you are too.

Let’s stick together and stick this out, okay?

And please, write this down:

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

It’s open 24 hours a day.