Why do we demand flawlessness of character in writers especially?
There isn’t a truly great writer alive or dead who is a paragon of wholesomeness and good living. It just can’t happen.
First of all, to be a writer you have to be uncommonly stubborn. Writing is not a natural act, especially writing in volume. Uncommonly stubborn people tend to persist in inadvisable actions for longer than they should. This alone leads to many of the common flaws found in the character of writers.
Second, to be a great writer you nearly have to have lead an interesting life. An interesting life is impossible to have without making mistakes – sometimes very large ones.
Third, no one who ever wrote anything great did so by avoiding the tendentious or concentrating on the anodyne. Revelation and novel thought doesn’t emerge from a void – chances are the writer has explored a range of possibilities in his or her own life from which these insights came.
So give me my writers bloodstained, mud-blotted, buffoonish and antagonizing – just as long as their writing is interesting.