Whiskey, You’re the Devil

My husband left this morning for his family reunion.  He’ll be gone all week.  We went out for dinner and drinks last night for a little bon voyage party.  To be honest, I’m a little hung over.

Which brings me to a quote by my new friend, Ernest Hemingway.  He is reported to have suggested that one write drunk and edit sober.  I’m not in the habit of getting drunk and have never tried to write in that condition; but since the inevitable result of getting drunk is a hangover, I’ll have to opt out.

There are so many tragic stories in the literary world of writers who died young from substance abuse, brilliant writers who gave us classics.  How did they do it?  Would their work have been even more brilliant if they had written while sober, or would they have been unable to write at all?

How did they keep track of plots and characters after downing whiskey or sipping absinthe?

Maybe they wrote pure shit when they were drunk.  Maybe they spent their sober moments editing whatever found its way to the page the night before.  Maybe they did write drunk and edit sober.  If that’s the case, they wasted a lot of time and probably fried valuable brain cells.

I read that Hemingway, shortly before his suicide, began to have problems with his mind.  For a writer, that’s the worst thing that could possibly happen.  Maybe that’s why he killed himself.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that years of drinking and drugs will eventually take a vicious toll on the mind.  It’s a drunkenness from which there is no sobering up.  The pure shit put on the page will stay pure shit.

Think I’ll stick with water today.


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