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Forget the Tortured Artist: They Don’t Help Anyone and Least of All You

‘Happy writes vanilla’, our teacher told my friend. ‘Happy writes vanilla.’

This was said in response to hearing that my friend, a writer, was ‘doing well’. For one of the first times in his young adult life, he was experiencing a taste of peace and contentment. And prior to this comment, he was overjoyed by the revelation.

No doubt this advice was well-intentioned. My friend – who we’ll call Rob – is a unique and gifted writer, and perhaps our teacher was concerned he’d become complacent and let his talents go to waste. Yet, the phrase almost immediately became a destructive mantra.

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