And I should add that there's plenty of self-indulgent dreck out there that passes for art just because it is the product of angst. Not everything that emerges from a tortured soul is worthy of artistic consideration (and the converse is also true). And for everyone who claims that they cannot create unless they can commune with their inner torment, there are others of us who cannot create if we cannot function. I've never been able to write worth a damn (or even write at all) when mired in despair to the point of withdrawing from the world, such as when I suffered profound postpartum depression. Right now I am coming to the end of the official "shiva" week of initial mourning for my mother (alev hasholom--rest in peace, in English). But my grief is still far too acute to be able to express creatively, and it would be premature and exploitative (and a dishonor to her in my religious/cultural tradition) were I even motivated to do so at this stage. To even entertain the thought that I might eventually turn my grief into art feels like crass sacrilege right now. It took me twenty years after his death to be able to write a song about my father. Does that make me any less of an artist?