Thursday, April 22, 2010
Writers are Drinkers
There are two writers: the one who drinks, and the one who is still in search of a drink. The reason one hasn't yet taken a drink is stubbornness. He may also be cheap. But when he weighs his options, he barely breaks even. One drink will help him through a few hours, but it might not be worth the price of liquor. And if he stays dry, the dread of writing overwhelms him. He stares at the first line for hours, like the oncoming tree at the farthest edge in a thousand acres of unexplored forest. He hasn't the strength, he hasn't the will to walk past it.
This is not even a matter of writers' block either. It's pride which prevents one from fulfilling responsibilities. Even when it is clear that he will only gain something positive, he holds a pistol against his head. He would rather accept an artist's poverty than the financial comfort of a commercial character. That's right. It's not depression, or a lack of creativity. It's outright stubbornness.
Like a shy boy on a dance floor, he's stiff when without alcohol. Sip a bit, and he's bendy and swaying. Then all of the embarrassing work can take place. There's no need to fear philistinism. The alcohol has made it possible.
But since he's still aware of this, he remains in the latter category. He doesn't want to drink. He doesn't even like the taste of it. Money isn't even his desire. He just wants to create art. But who would support such an endeavor? Are there grants that allow him to write without drinking? Or is this impossible, and does he simply want to live in a dream? Is there anyone who will gently lift his balls with a metal spoon?
It's time to read. The tank is empty, but alcohol shouldn't be what refuels. There is a sense of dread at the end of every sentence for which he doesn't get paid for. Is the next sentence one he must write for an employer? Keep that sentence away. Keep it away from the artist. The sentence he wants to write is one that comes from him, and creates its own audience, rather than appeasing the hunger of one already paid.
He writes not to tell others what is so, but to explore that which he cannot yet...