Skip to main content

Vice

My pen scribbled frantically through the pages of my composition book. Normally I would have been typing, but my computer was off and I couldn't wait for it to boot up. The idea had come to me only moments before, and it was spilling out of my head and expanding faster than I could put it on paper. I was on my third or fourth glass of wine, I wasn't sure anymore, and I was at that familiar place, the perfect buzz point where my creativity was rich and my internal editor was on leave.

Twelve pages, uninterrupted.

I still felt inspired, so I picked up my guitar and started strumming chords to some of my favorite songs, inserting my own versions of lyrics. I’m sure my adjoining neighbors wanted to kill me, but I played until the bottle was empty.

The next morning, I made some coffee and opened up my composition book to last night's starting point. I read what I wrote, expecting an illiterate, confused, drunken mess of silliness while I rubbed my aching head.

The result was the same as always: The music was abysmal, but the writing was pure literary genius. I was amazed at the work I’d done, barely even remembering those thoughts until reading them in the daylight, trying to decipher my sloppy script. I hardly believed that I even wrote it, it was that good.

The hangover, on the other hand, was debilitating and nearly unbearable.

The next time I sat over my open notebook, I had only a cup of black coffee with me as I desperately willed words onto the blank lines. I had so much to say, but I couldn't begin. When I finally wrote something down, I couldn't follow through. After writing a few disjointed phrases, I slammed the book shut and frisbeed it into the next room. A hangover would have been preferable to this writer's block.

I made it so. I went back to the bottle. My resulting and most recent hangovers have thus been as awful as the others, but lately the morning after provides nothing but blank pages. Nothing to impress me. Nothing to read at all. Nothing but a completely non-productive Sunday, half of which I spent on the sofa watching movies, all the while half-tempted to have a glass of wine to help the headache.

“That’s it, I’m never drinking again,” I declared this weekend to my fellow sofa sloth. This time I mean it.




Comments

  1. I know how hard that can be, so I wish you the best of luck.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good for you! And great writing! I'm big into wine but as far as I can tell, there is no link to writing well. That's probably good for the two glass limit that means "sensible."

    I love the part about your editor going on vacation. I think that happens when people tweet after alcohol too - some of the stuff on Friday and Saturday nights is pretty entertaining!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I found your blog thru "yeah write." I love your writing.

    -Ellen
    Bad Word Mama

    ReplyDelete
  4. My husband asked me to write a bio for our band website. I came up with the most boring "press release" worthy blathering bullshit. Then I had a couple glasses of wine, got that wonderful buzz going, and felt the inspiration hit. I typed out some kind of psycho babble and promptly passed out after emailing it to the hubby. The next morning he was all praise. "That second thing you wrote was hilarious, where did you come up with all that?" I read it and couldn't remember writing one word of it. I'd like to think I was channeling some cosmic George Carlin-esque spirits, but in all honesty, I'm just a goofy, smart ass drunk. Or is it divine intervention sometimes? :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. D. My dear friend. I heart you, which of course you know. Great piece here.

    ReplyDelete
  6. wow, 4 glasses of wine for me and all you'd see on a page is my drool.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Inspiration is a strange thing. Lately I've been getting ideas for writing while listening to a book on tape while driving to work. The weird thing is that my ideas end up being totally unrelated to what I'm listening to. I've even pulled over a few times to try to jot things down.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love to write and I love my wine, but unfortunately the two do not go hand in hand for me.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A difficult dance to end. Your writing is always wonderful so I hesitate to encourage you to change your ways ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's strange, isn't it, that where we find inspiration is never consistent? This is incredible writing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I get this, boy do I get this. I just got to the point of no-return with that old bottle, so I had to find other ways of inspiration...but it was good while it lasted!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow, you weren't kidding about the writer's block when you mentioned it on Facebook. You know, as a recovering alcoholic, I should probably give you some sort of speech. But you sure ain't the first writer to find inspiration in a bottle. Or not. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm seeing a bit of myself in this post. I know I get a lot chattier on twitter and in comments after a couple of drinks. Or a lot of drinks - if it's Friday.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your post made me wince in pain -- I could feel your writer's block as acutely as I experience my own. It reminded me of Cheryl Strayed's Dear Sugar column on the Rumpus, the famous "Write like a Motherf*cker" piece. In it, she said, "I know it’s hard to write, darling. But it’s harder not to. The only way you’ll find out if you “have it in you” is to get to work and see if you do. The only way to override your “limitations, insecurities, jealousies, and ineptitude” is to produce. You have limitations. You are in some ways inept. This is true of every writer..." Keep that in mind, be kind to yourself. Good luck on this next step in your journey.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's amazing how wine can lubricate the wheels at some times, and at others lead to absolutely nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm sorry for the writer's block! Maybe the inconsistency of the alcohol brilliance (which most of us have experienced every now and again) will help you push through it and find new tools and strength so you know you won't NEED the wine. Though...it's still lovely to drink. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. If drinking wine improved my writing, I would have long ago had to enter a Program. I envy you the brilliance but not the cause or the other effects. Congrats on your courage in deciding to make a change--certainly not the easier path!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yeah, four glasses of wine and I'd be asleep on the couch. Probably two glasses of wine actually :) Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Good luck! I've never tried to write after drinking. My drug of choice is emotion -- I write like a mothafucka when angry or sad or scared or elated. I write like crap when I'm calm, LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow, I am the total opposite! I try to avoid my laptop and iPhone when I'm intoxicated. Writing and drinking do not mix for me at all, and I've been known to overshare via social media after a few too many.

    Wishing you courage and strength as you set out on this journey. You are such a talented writer. I'm certain you will find other sources of inspiration. Best of luck to you, Dana.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh, there's nothing more frustrating than a blank page, or unfinished sentences. I can identify with the block, for sure. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Some of my best thoughts and inspired writing have come as yours. And the block... Is devasting.. But I also get what you're saying here. Chasing that vicious cycle. You are a wonderful writer. Stay brave and strong.

    ReplyDelete
  23. The muse is so fickle. Mine used to visit at night but she can't stay up late anymore, I guess.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Part 1: College Submission

Alice stepped onto the dock in the backyard where her daughter sat, feet dangling into the creek.
“Maddie, help me with dinner, please.”
“But I need supplies for my presentation board.”
Alice inhaled tightly. “It’s almost curfew, Madison. Why didn’t you remind me earlier?”
“It’s just stuff from Target. I can go myself.”
“No. Write down what you need. I’ll go right now.”
“Seriously, mom, it’s okay. I’m 18. I can sign.”
Alice was firm. “Inside now, please, and make a shopping list.”
Madison rolled her eyes, but obeyed. Arguing was futile.
Alice grabbed Madison’s list in one hand, purse in the other. No use getting frustrated. College applications were treacherous; the private schools made it nearly impossible. If Madison’s project didn’t astonish the enrollment board at Elmwood, her acceptance could be revoked and she’d end up at State.
State was a good school, but it didn’t have the budget for security. Outside the ivies (which no longer accepted applications from non-legacy candidates), Elmwood…

Part 2: Campus Tour

Alice looked impatiently at her watch. Five more minutes until her daughter Madison and the other four candidates would present their high school theses to the Elmwood University enrollment board. 
“Shouldn’t we head to the lecture hall?” Alice asked the tour guide. She didn’t want to miss Maddie’s presentation, a discussion about the Constitution. "The Bill of Negative Rights", she called it.
“Oh, that’s a closed event, ma’am. We’ll finish up the tour in time for you all to retrieve your students.” The tour guide didn’t even pause before continuing. “Next we are going to walk through the residential quad. Naturally, we will not be going inside any of the residence or dining halls for security reasons.”
“Are the dorms co-ed?” asked a parent.
“No, they’re all gender-segregated. Each entrance is equipped with a fingerprint reader and laser counter to ensure only authorized residents have access.”
Well, that’s overkill, thought Alice. What fun is college if you can’t sneak boys into…

Part 3: Life After Curfew

“Do I need to bring TP?” Madison whispered into her phone to her best friend, Grace.
“Nope! We’re stealing it from the school bathrooms,” replied Grace. “Hurry up and get down here!”
Madison slid open her bedroom window and climbed down the leafy trellis to the bushes below.
“Welcome to life after curfew!” Grace said in a loud whisper.
“Shh!” Madison reacted, scanning the darkness. “Don’t get us in trouble before we’ve even left the yard!”
“Relax, Maddie, there is NOBODY out here. Not even Curfew Officers. It’s been hours since twilight. Come on!”
Grace led Madison through a labyrinth of yards, avoiding streetlights. It took a few minutes for Madison’s eyes to adjust and notice that Grace was toting not one, but two rifles.
“Is the extra one for me?” Madison asked sarcastically.
“Maddie, I know you don’t have a rifle, and I know you think you’re making some big statement by not getting one because you’re the one who told everyone they should get one, and now you think that the entire country …