Ruminating On: Writing Under The Influence

(This one is dedicated to Chelle. I finally got to your Ruminating On idea. Love you, baby 😉 )

Ernest Hemingway once said, “A man does not exist until he is drunk.” But for some authors, their stories do not exist until they have imbibed. I can’t say that it works for me, as I’m barely a writer when I’m sober. Still, authors that can spin elaborate webs while shitfaced and stoned like the biblical whores of old, interest me. Going back to Hemingway’s quote, I believe he was speaking of the lack of inhibitions while intoxicated. I could be wrong, but that’s how I’m going to take those words. Because, only once you have known no boundaries, can you truly know who you are inside.

Stephen King has repented, and some say his stories suffered because he kicked all his addictions (at least that’s what he tells the public, because no one knows for sure but old King, himself). The most amazing story from King about his imbibing concerns The Shining. He doesn’t remember writing the book. I have always wondered, how does someone stay so fucked up, as to forget an entire novel. Then there are stories of him sitting at his typewriter, bloody cotton balls hanging from his nose while he works on another one of the books he would soon forget penning, Tabby is at his side trying to pull him away, but King just responds, “Let me finish this one paragraph!” (If I misquote, I’m sorry, but it’s been a while since I read the article). I have dealt with this myself. But instead of my wife trying to pull me away, it’s my daughter filling Tabby’s shoes. All the while, I’m telling her, “Let me just finish this one thought.” And then that one thought turns into countless others and the battle wages on. Finally, my daughter disappears. It’s hours later, and I’m wondering where the hell all my time went. My beautiful little girl has found something else to do, or it’s almost bedtime, and I’ve missed my chance. I know I’m villain in this story, but that doesn’t change the fact I pick it back up the next day and start all over again.

I do not write under the influence, my writing is the influence. Writing a story gets me high, far beyond the reaches of any other drug I’ve come in contact with. Mind you, I’m one of the ones out here in the world that hasn’t partaken in drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, Speed, or even the light stuff, like Mary Jane and Whippits (or however you spell Co2 taken orally). I did, however, huff gas one afternoon when I was twelve because a brain damaged buddy of mine had seen his dad doing it and thought it would be “just killer to try!” I got sick and painted his shoes with the remnants of a bologna sandwich I’d had for lunch.

Now, I kinda, sorta, just lied to you. I do take narcotic pain medicine on a regular basis for a back injury I acquired about eight years ago. I’ve had three surgeries to try and correct it, but I’m so heavy, until I lose the weight, that disc will forever come popping back out. The thing is, I don’t get high off the stuff anymore, though it made me rather speedy and talkative in the beginning. I’ve been taking it so long that it’s just another day, another pill. When I dose and write, it’s no different from when I don’t dose. I’ve done side by side comparisons, drugged or not, and the writing is the same. Though when I edit after taking my meds, errors become more prominent; they’re easier to find. I know that seems backwards, but I’m telling this story, not you. I decided long ago, it’s safer to hire an editor than it is wearing my Oxy Brand editing spectacles.

But, hands down, my favorite druggie has to be Poe. Edgar had a penchant for Black Tar Heroin. I look back on such terrifying ramblings as The Masque of Red Death, The Conqueror Worm and The Tell-Tale Heart, and I shiver. I really do believe, Poe, more so than any other writer that has influenced me, keeps me away from the hard stuff. That man’s mind went places that I dare not tread. I don’t write to create nightmares, I write to get rid of the ones already bouncing around in my brain bucket. The last thing I need are deviant dreams I can’t get the hell away from. Thank, but no thanks, Mr. Jones.

So, what do you do? Do you write in a drug fugue like King and Poe? Do you prefer your written diatribes to be alcohol induced? Have you ever written something and forgot you’re the one who created it? Or, are you one of the boring authors of the world, relying on nothing but good old fashioned imagination to fuel your work? I want to know.

Thanks for reading.

Now where are damn pills…

E.

(Updated Author’s Note: Armand Rosamilia reblogged this post after I uploaded it. I greatly appreciate him doing so, as I have received several comments and likes because of him. I would like to add though, that I, Edward Lorn, am the writer of the post. In many of the comments that I have yet to moderate, readers have given Armand the credit for authoring the piece. At the risk of being a pompous douchebag, I felt I needed to clarify that. Thank you, everyone, for stopping by and reading.)

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15 thoughts on “Ruminating On: Writing Under The Influence

  1. Armand, great post… I wonder, is it Cujo he doesn’t remember writing? I remember him talking about that with the cotton-balls image in his book On Writing, where King says something like “I liked that book, I wish I could remember writing it.” The Shining is earlier, and I think maybe he wasn’t as intoxicated during its production.

    I was of the impression with Hemingway as well that he wrote then drank. But on both points I could be mistaken.

    Either way, not only do I not allow myself to write when imbibing, I don’t even allow myself on Facebook, lol.

    Keep up the quality work 😉

  2. In my own work, I’ve never tried writing while intoxicated. I’ve considered it, but I don’t generally feel like it would work for me. In fact, I rather think it would kill my buzz. LOL!

    When I write, I have to focus. For example, I can’t listen to music because I end up focused on the music and not the writing. There’s a lot of concentration involved. So, I don’t think writing under the influence would work for me.

    Now, drunk tweeting? That’s something else entirely…

    By the way, I’m another who came here by way of Armand Rosamilia’s reblogging of the post.

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Brandon. I’m glad you found me 😉 Armand is a good guy, and I’m honored he thought highly enough of my piece to reblog it.

    I haven’t had the pleasure of tweeting while drunk, but can imagine I better stay away from that. I don’t really have a filter as it is, so an uninhibited E. might not go over well on the Twit-Box. LOL.

    For me, listening to music helps while writing. I use it as a soundtrack of sorts. I have heard from numerous people that music distracts them, and I can understand how that could happen. Some authors use movie scores and classical music to write by so they don’t end up typing lyrics into their pieces 🙂 But, like everything else in our daily lives, each person has their own way of going about things.

    Thank for reading and following. Hope to see you in the comment section in the future 😉

    E.

  4. G’day Edward,

    It’s interesting to find where Authors have unlocked their muse. A really well thought out post, mate.

    John.

    Ps. Throw me down for another one sent here by Armand.

  5. Edward and Armand: I’m actually replying to you now, unapologetically, drink in hand 🙂 I have written under the influence of a vodka with some yummy fruit-flavored addition on several occasions. I find that it relaxes my mind. Although there is some question as to who said it first (Hemingway or someone else) I ascribe to the following: “Write drunk, edit sober.” It has served me well fellas 🙂

  6. I don’t drink and write. The times of day in which I indulge either habit don’t coincide, so their separation is more about logistics than a decision either way. I have been known to comment on blogs while under the influence.

    Could it be that I’m having a mimosa as we speak?

    -aniko

    PS- Very sorry about your back pain. I had severe scoliosis when I was a kid, and had to have an operation to get my spine up outta my lungs. I know that back pain is some of the worst in the world, and I’m truly sorry you suffer with it.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Aniko. My pain has given me a true appreciation for those moments I find when I do not hurt. I hate that you had to go through that in your younger years. It’s the pain we defeat that makes us who we are. 😉

      Thanks for dropping by again. Love seeing you in the comment section.

      E.

      1. Someone once asked if I would get rid of my scars if I could. I said no. Absolutely not. They’re a map of what I’ve survived, and I am not ashamed or horrified by them. Perhaps that would be different if they were on my face? I don’t know. I agree with you, though, that the pain and the difficulties that we overcome are what shape us as humans.

        -aniko

  7. There’s a Facebook meme running around that shows a woman with stretch marks. I like the message attached to it, because not only does it relate to stretch marks, but also for scars. It says, “You’re not ruined. You’re a tiger who’s earned her stripes. 😉

    E.

  8. Well, here’s the thing- I started my fiction writing well after the lure of substances had disappeared from my life. Oh yes, I may have the odd glass of red wine (when I’m feeling rich enough to buy some) but alcohol now doesn’t enter my life in a swirling anxious mess like it may have done in my younger days.

    I can’t imagine writing under the influence because it takes all ALL of my concentration powers to write. One distraction, it’s toast. I give myself enough distractions: ooo shiny! ooo pretty! You get my drift.

    So I guess the answer that I shall give to your most interesting of questions is: what was the question? Oh right: my answer is: old fashioned writer relying on imagination and coffee.

    1. Oh, Coffee. Thanks for reminding me, Jo-Anne, I need a cup this morning.

      E.

      P.S. Technically, you ARE writing under the influence…caffeine is seen, in some circles, as a mood altering drug. Now, where would they get that idea? hehehe…

  9. Sorry for the confusion… I simply saw a post I really liked and thought I was helping everyone by reblogging it… I assumed when people saw it was a link to another blog they would see I did not write it… especially with your name at the top of it. My bad.

    Armand Rosamilia

    1. No problem, Armand. I just felt the need to clarify things. Thank you again for reblogging it. I do appreciate it. I received a number of new follows because you did.

      E.

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