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under the influence

May 14, 2010

i was thinking about drinking and writing the other day.

one of my writing friends posted this on our communal writing discussion board (a fancy name for FACEBOOK GROUP) the other day. and by the other day i mean a few months ago.

i’ve already talked about the correlation between mental illness and writing, and i also feel that drinking can fall into this category. (during the completion of my psychology degree – yes, i took a real, nearly medical degree at my alma mater – we studied substance abuse a lot in our abnormal psychology classes).

on that note, i want to know how writers function/write while under the influence. that doesn’t necessarily mean alcohol. as seen in the link i hyper-ed, it can be anything from opium to heroin to more alcohol to barbiturates (holy crap). whatever. whatever alters your consciousness, i suppose.

does it help you? does it loosen you? does it unlace your tongue? sometimes i do experiment. i will test myself by writing while under the influence (of whisky, mainly, or a sweet white) and compare to how i write while stone sober. i find that sometimes i will write in a more jarring/blunt/brandishing manner when i am tipsy. i don’t know if that necessarily equals better, but it makes it interesting. could i get drunk and write like that for the rest of my life?


so maybe there is a correlation between mental illness and substance abuse/addiction and creativity. is that the price that we writers have to play? i’ve heard discussions among my program-mates, and it sounds like everyone has their poison of choice – marijuana, anti-anxiety medications, gin, diazepam, whisky. everything in moderation, i suppose.

i leave you with a quote from charles baudelaire (absinthe, opium, alcohol addictions):

“Always be drunk … Get drunk militantly. Just get drunk.”

keep in mind that he died at age 46.



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