In interviews and other places they say I am prolific. I think why I wrote many things so far is because when I was depressed, lonely, in a situation of unrequited emotions, or had just been disappointed by a human being, I didn’t watch TV or call someone or drink alcohol. I wrote stories, poems, and novels.


I don’t watch TV because I don’t have one, but also because for some reason I prefer feeling existential despair and despair having to do with being emotional and melodramatic to feeling nothing (I don’t have strong urges to get painkillers or cough syrup or other things or drink alcohol) or feeling “vacuous” or “distracted” or whatever by a TV show, a video game, knitting, “small talk,” etc. For example if I already feel depressed and alone I will listen to music that is depressing and by a lonely person instead of other music. The same with movies. I sometimes have urges to do some of those “distracting” things but the urges are not very strong and most of the time if I am feeling severely depressed I will drink coffee and sit at the computer with intent to write a story or poem or edit or something.


I didn’t talk to people mostly because I didn’t have people to talk to (when I wrote most of what I’ve written so far) but also because I feel very bad about misleading people or using people to relieve loneliness. If I wouldn’t talk to someone normally, when I am not depressed, I feel self-conscious talking to them when I am lonely, because I know some of it must be because I feel lonely. I feel bad when people around me are disappointed by relationships. If I start “hanging out” and being in social situations a lot and if there are two people who come to my reading for me I feel bad that I only talk to one of them or that I didn’t talk to both simultaneously the entire time. I don’t like when I’m talking to one person and there is another person standing there waiting for me. I would almost rather just not talk at all. If there are three people in a group and I am one of three I feel intense pressure to not talk too long to one person (or to just not talk at all) because the other person will feel “left out.” I had a reading and more than one person came and one brought me a flower and that night I lay in bed feeling really emotional about how the person who brought me a flower felt when I talked to the other person. Even if it’s someone I don’t know who comes to talk to me and someone else taps me and talks to me I feel really bad about the other person. I’m not being very articulate but I think you can understand me.

When I feel myself “using” someone to relieve loneliness I feel like a terrible asshole. I feel like I’m in a movie or sitcom. If there are two people who like me at the same time I feel very emotional thinking about the situation. I want them both to get what they want. Because I know how it feels to like someone who doesn’t like you back. I don’t know. If both people are very detached people it is better, I feel less emotional and more like it is a life-affirming situation, that there is just a lot of good feelings happening between human beings. I like people who I feel that no matter what terrible shit happens to them they will never feel complete despair but always be a little outside of their situation, viewing it with amusement and complete acceptance, and who accept death also. I am more able to think about those people without feeling emotional in a way that makes me not want to talk as much or have relationships or friends as much, meaning I understand that they will understand that if I do not like them as much as they like me that is something they can accept, and not feel complete despair about. I think I like when people treat me like that. But I am reluctant to treat someone like that, so directly, if I don’t know if they are very detached and able to accept things completely; though I think I learned to be very detached and to accept things completely in part because people have treated me in the way I described, which is directly and not in an all-or-nothing way, meaning that if I wanted to be in a relationship with them and they did not want it they would still talk to me, but just talk to me and do things for me in the exact amount they wanted to, always knowing that I wanted more.


If more than one person likes me and wants to talk to me and hang out with me I feel a little “powerful” and “loved” but a lot “worried” and “sympathetic” and I get a concerned facial expression. If I like someone and they do not like me I feel “worried” and “sympathetic” also toward myself, as if I were someone else, but I also feel powerful, because I know that I am able to accept the situation, meaning I won’t kill myself or anything like that.

But I also want to type that I think if I viewed myself from another person’s perspective I would probably think that I was a person who used many people just to relieve loneliness. And from a certain perspective everyone is just using everyone for everything. I didn’t type about that in this post. This post is incomplete and from a certain perspective only.

There are many other reasons why I am “prolific” so far.

I enjoy being alone at a computer with coffee and listening to music and doing things on the internet.

I like drinking coffee and listening to music and editing a story.

There are other reasons also.

Thank you for reading my post about why I am “prolific” so far.


Tao Lin is the author of ten books of poetry and prose. His next book, Leave Society is forthcoming from Vintage. He has a blog, a website, a Twitter, and an Instagram.

One response to “Why I am “Prolific” So Far”

  1. ted conover [just kidding, not the real ted conover] says:

    ‘jesus christ’

    that’s some real depression.

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