The Writer Alcoholic

Do you drink?

Certainly, if you consider yourself to be a writer, then you must indulge in an alcoholic beverage on a regular basis.

I’m not sure what this says about me, but I’ve been given alcohol as gifts from multiple people recently. Is it because they know how miserable I am? Do they know that I enjoy writing? Or have they seen me on more than one occasion being lit up and said, Hey, this guy likes to drink?

About the writing, I’ve thought about this for quite some time. Does writing and drinking go hand in hand?

There is no way I could ever write and drink at the same time. I imagine that under the influence my writing would be of the same caliber as Charlie’s from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Couple that with my hundred pound teenage girl-like tolerance and the results would be embarrassing.

I suppose I’m thinking more about the lifestyle of a writer, or on a grander scale, the artist. After all, I do consider writers to be artists of some sort. In my opinion, the greatest art comes from a place of intense vulnerability and pain. If life is nothing but puppy dogs and ice cream, then you have nothing meaningful to express. Well, that’s not entirely true – I do love me some Mister Rogers Neighborhood, and his material was as vanilla as it gets.

I’m talking about writing that transcends: stuff from the Hunter S. Thompson’s, Charles Bukowski’s, and Herman Melville’s of the world. They seemed to have lived completely miserable lives, yet out of that misery came a Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas or a Moby Dick.

This brings me back to drinking. If you travel outside of the U.S., you’ll realize that this country views drinking with a far more negative connotation than most of the world. So if we want to write more and wish to become legitimate writers, should we drink more?

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Midnight In Paris, but you really should. Yes, Woody Allen has made his fair share of duds, but this movie is more on the Annie Hall side of the scale. It seemed like when these 1920’s writers weren’t actually writing, they were drinking. One such writer, Ernest Hemingway, had a good quote about drinking:

I drink to make other people more interesting.

His buddy F. Scott Fitzgerald also championed the pastime:

Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.

I suppose what I’m really pondering is this – so many of the great writers in the past were such dedicated drinkers, so is that part of the blueprint to great writing? If I wanted to be the next Jimi Hendrix, I would seriously think about doing drugs; luckily, that’s not what I’m striving for. I do enjoy the beer, wine, and whisky, but is it time to kick it up a notch? Should I advance into drinking on the daily?

I realize these questions are somewhat silly, but still, you have to wonder sometimes. Hemingway wouldn’t have written A Farewell To Arms without experiencing the brutality of war, but perhaps the alcohol was just the thing he needed to cope with it all and organize his thoughts and feelings so that he could write about it.

It’s just a thought. Please don’t share this at an AA meeting.

Chris.

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