Creating a work of art is an arduous process: the conceptualization, the drafting, the endless tweaking and editing, and, finally, the intense hatred and the rampant destruction. Yes, sometimes there's a fine line between "artistic process" and "hulking the fuck out." Here are a few works of art we nearly lost to the blood-rage that lives within all creative types ...
5 Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita Was Barely Rescued From A Bonfire
For those who'd prefer their personal library not place them on a government watch list, Lolita is the best-selling Vladimir Nabokov novel in which the silly-sounding Humbert Humbert not-so-sillily drives his wife to suicide before taking off on an aimless, child-molesting road trip with her eponymous 12-year-old daughter.
It's widely regarded as a masterpiece, but if reading a novel that sounds like a fantasy posted in the darkest depths of 4chan turns your stomach, you're not alone: Nabokov himself famously hated the bulk of his own work, and that hate applied to nothing more so than Lolita. Nabokov had the odd habit of writing out all of his novels on index cards, which he'd shuffle and rearrange into piles around his home until he ended up with a completed work, sort of like a protracted, pedophiliac game of Mad Libs.
Library Of Congress
In addition to writing about 12-year-olds, he also doodled on his work like one.
Lolita took him five full years to write in this manner, and as soon as it was done, Nabokov carefully gathered up the hundreds of index cards that comprised the novel, packed them into a box, took the box out to the backyard, and set it right the fuck on fire.
Nabokov's wife, Vera, apparently accustomed to such shenanigans, noticed the blaze, sprinted out of the house and began frantically yanking cards out of the inferno. Remarkably, she managed to rescue the bulk of the still-rough manuscript and nagged Nabokov to finish it, making this possibly the one and only time in history that a wife has gotten pissed at her husband for torching his creepy porn stash.
4 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Wanted Sherlock Holmes To Die
Sherlock Holmes' brilliant and often bewildering exploits have inspired a still-flowing torrent of television shows, movies, comics, books, and stage plays, not to mention an amount of Benedict Cumberbatch-Martin Freeman erotic fan art best left to the private mode of your web browser. Hell, he's one of the few fictional creations to overstep the bounds of imagination and assert his influence onto the real world, as some have credited the (again, fictional) detective with fathering modern forensics.
Sony Pictures Television
And, sadly, modern forensics TV shows.
All of which means that, somewhere in England, Holmes' creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is harrumphing in his grave.
That's because Doyle fucking hated Holmes. Or, more accurately, he resented him. See, much like many of us who spent our younger years dreaming of being famous doctors or presidents or Evel Knievel, Doyle had big dreams of his own -- and they didn't involve inventing the preeminent detective story. Instead, he fancied himself more of a historical novelist and viewed his Holmes stories as "hack work" written for the sole purpose of making extra scratch to pay off his college loans.
"The quicker I can write this crap, the quicker I can write checks."
In 1893 -- six years after penning his very first Sherlock Holmes tale and bearing the stress of ever-more-demanding deadlines thanks to the character's explosive popularity -- Doyle concocted his plan to off the detective, swearing that unless he struck first, Holmes would kill him. And so he published the short story "The Final Problem," which ended with Sherlock Holmes and his arch-nemesis, Moriarty, dying together after kicking each others' asses clear off the edge of a goddamned waterfall.
The public straight-up refused to let Holmes die, virtually ignoring Doyle's subsequent work until, a decade after Holmes' "final" adventure, he resurrected the character for scads more stories, wishing with every last word that he'd detailed the discovery of the detective's gory remains so that there could never have been any mystery surrounding the fact that the man was well and truly dead.