There are a lot of jokes passed around Twitter with regard to writers and drinking. My tweeps and their glasses of wine, beer and the occasional margarita. A few sit contentedly with their mug of tea or coffee, but I’m not writing about them (oh heck no – those are the kinds of drinks a writer needs the morning after they drink themselves into chapter-writing bliss and oblivion!).
What is it about drinking and writing that makes them go hand-in-hand like PB&J? Lucy and Ricky? Arguing and politics (ahem, Chris Rivan!)? I think that most creative souls are tortured… we fret and freak out about details that mean nothing – NOTHING – to anyone else. We watch lapses of time with the eyes of a hawk, noting little insignificant matters and milestones as they pass us by.
When did he ask me to marry him?
How high was I asked to jump?
That was the day the music died!
To deal with it all, creatives – writers in particular – tend to hit the nearest road to escape-land. Done legally (well, in California we do allow medical marijuana, which just about anyone with a backache can get a card for), we melt into a subtle world where the unihibited live… including our characters. The easiest way, and one that is favored by the many I mentioned previously, is drinking.
I don’t condone drinking as a lifestyle, especially when one is a writer. After all, look at Papa Hemingway. He spent the better part of his writing years behind a bottle in the Florida Keys, his white beard and booze hiding the dilemma behind his facade. We all know what happened to him, and that’s not necessarily where all of us writer folk want to go. However, there is definitely something to character development and story flow when it’s done at 11 p.m. after a few drinks.
Most writers are fluid to begin with when it comes to ideas. We dream in colors so vivid that it’s hard to explain them sometimes. We can fear our own creativity or the lack thereof, which sometimes requires liquid courage as compensation. There is nothing too questionable after a few Coronas, and once the ideas barf themselves onto the page, we can say “nighty-night” and go out like a light. The next morning, we shall see the results of our binge writing-via alcohol evening.
It may surprise you that I do not write under the influence. In fact, if I do have a few drinks it’s well before I write (which starts around 9 p.m.). I’m usually somewhat sober and in good form for my words. It’s not that I haven’t written with a good buzz, though. Times like that, I tend to spell as bad as some of my day job coworkers (sorry, but your spelling sucks rocks). I prefer a clear mind that teeters on the edge of “what-if.”
So, how about you? Do you drink and write? Or do you write under the influence of chocolate? I’m curious to know.