Childhood for some writers was not that great. Early in his childhood, H. P. Lovecraft’s mother would walk him around and when running into a neighbor or two would tell them right in front of her child, “I’d better get Howard inside before anyone sees him. His face is so ugly.”
He had a nervous condition that for a young person in modern day could possibly be solved with antidepressants. Here is what describes Lovecraft’s early education years Early speculation that he may have been congenitally disabled by syphilis passed on from father to mother to fetus has been ruled out. Due to his sickly condition and his undisciplined, argumentative nature he barely attended school until he was eight and then was withdrawn after a year. Four years later he returned to public school at Hope Street High School. In 1908, prior to his high school graduation, he claimed to have himself suffered what he later described as a “nervous breakdown,” and consequently never received his high school diploma (although he maintained for most of his life that he did graduate)… This failure to complete his education (he wished to study at Brown University) was a source of disappointment and shame even late into his life.
Philip K. Dick had asthma as a child and took medicine for that, but took Semoxydrine a little later in the 1950’s. That led to his taking hundreds if not a thousand amphetamines per week later in life which resulted in him staying up for five or more days at a time and then crashing for a couple of days. Dozens of good novels were written as a result of this which he sold to Donald Wolheim for around 1000 dollars apiece. It also probably led to what killed him later in life.
Dick attended Berkeley High School. After graduating from high school he briefly attended the University of California, Berkeley as a German major, but dropped out before completing any coursework. From what I understand, it was less than a week before he dropped; he could not take the college classroom setting and his nerves just could not take sitting in the classroom among the other students.
He had a fear of swallowing as a child, and other phobias like crossing bridges in a car. He had a recurring dream that became a fear later on that he would one day receive a letter that was so horrific that reading the contents of it would kill him. At his front door in glaring sunlight, a Pink Beam bounced off a metal symbol on a young delivery lady’s necklace in Feb/March 1974 and resulted in an 8000 page “Exegesis: An Exploration of the Dialectic” and a profound changing point in his life to the very end, and unfortunately gave us much less SF from him from then on.
As a child, author Malcolm Lowry (“Under the Volcano”) had bad styes on his eyes that required being scraped off with a razor by an oculist. His Victorian father occasionally took him to the Syphilis museum on Paradise Street in London to teach him about the horrors of social diseases.
Lowry’s mother showed no affection or love for him and never read a word of his fiction. Lowry spent the rest of his life hitting the booze and occasionally writing great fiction, including writing one of the towering novels of the 20th century. Having learned how to drink at a young age, he attended St. Catharine’s College at Cambridge but was hardly ever seen on campus unless completely drunk, usually under a table strumming a ukulele, and barely squeaked by with a lower level Third Tripost degree by submitting his first novel “Ultramarine”. After this novel was accepted for publication it was lost completely after all alterations had been done for the publisher. He literally had to rewrite it completely from memory from a very crude and old first draft. Lowry spent the rest of his life running away from himself. They all contributed to fiction.