Sunday, August 6, 2017

Drinking while writing.

I've all but stopped drinking. It's not that I have a problem, it's just that I'm married to a woman who's had two drinks in her life. I watched her struggle to drink half a wine cooler once. Also, it has a physical impact on me that isn't cost effective.

Besides, I just fall to sleep.

So mostly, since I'm not terribly social, the only time I might drink anything is when I'm with my family and they're having wine at dinner.

35 five years ago, I drank beer and wine all the time, especially while writing. I found it a big help. It seemed to loosen me up, let my imagination run wild. Sometimes I'd sit at the desk with a few beers and lose myself for hours in the fictional dream. Writing and drinking just went together.

This time around, I was hoping for the same booster effect, but it doesn't seem to be there. Whatever insights or loosening I glean I'm already getting. I've learned to access the same fictional dream without the artificial support. This isn't by any means a holier than thou thing. I really wish I could drink and get that same effect. It would make things easier.

I do feel that drinking can sometimes give me some insights and clarity, cut through the confusion. In vino veritas and all that.

Anyway, Linda is off to camp for a week, so I sat on the back patio and drank some wine last night.

Woke up this morning with these four lines written on my notes:

1.) "Do a Kristen Chapter, with her response."

2.) "Bring in the Feds POV? Think about it."

3.) "Need more description: Do a trip to John Day."

4.) "Research, research, research."

Like I said, I'm pretty sure I would have come to these conclusions already. In fact, I really already had, only they felt so much more important last night.

I really don't like to do research. When I got my bachelors degree I was really burned out on higher education. I swore I'd never go back to college. I read like crazy, as much as anyone, and I read all kinds of books, but I stopped reading "How To" books. Not saying this is a good thing, (though books about writing are so contradictory and idiosyncratic that they can lead you astray, I believe. Besides, I read every book about writing there was in the library at the time.)

This time around I'm trying to be true to myself, find my own way, take advice and criticism whenever offered, but follow my instincts. Because I read so much, I still pick up pointers all the time, I just don't seek them out anymore. Again, probably stupid on my part, but whatever gets me writing is what I need to do.

But...I'm very good at assimilating real information into my stories. I forced myself to research for "Takeover," and now that I'm about 60% of the way through, I've used every bit of that research in my book and it has enhanced it no end.

The idea that I need to do further research is probably the most important of the above insights. So back to the drawing board. Read some long form articles on Bundy Ranch and Malheur, and probably Ruby Ridge and Waco as well.

Not looking forward to the work, but looking forward to the results.

As far as the drinking is concerned. Linda is gone for a week, so I'll probably have another little drinking session. I woke up this morning between the blankets over the sheets, still wearing my watch and ring. I'm out of practice. I didn't walk into any doors, tho.


Michael Kentley said...

I didn't even discover alcohol until I was around 40. Its been immensely entertaining -- but I am prone to headaches, so when I say "immensely entertaining" I mean that I can have *a pint* or *a cocktail*. Beyond that, if I am lucky, I'll just fall asleep. If I'm not lucky -- a whopper headache. But .... I'm also a homebrewer (long story there, but I make things. For some reason complicated yeast based things are the funnest). It turns out that all you have to do is say "I got a keg of ____ in the garage, go ahead and fill a growler" and there's always someone up for free beer -- then that frees up the fridge for the NEXT thing I want to make :-) All the fun without a hangover.

Dave Cline said...

When I've intentionally used alcohol as a psychological activation agent I've done so in a very specific way.

1) Plan.
2) Fast.
3) Hard stuff.
4) Start early.
5) Recover.

Use it like a hallucinogenic inducing trigger. Like Peyote or shrooms.
Know that you need to arrive in the state of intoxication quickly. Taking your time to get there is counterproductive. One would often become sanguine or worse, morose, as one approaches the point of useful intoxication.
So, I fasted, no lunch is enough.
Then when the time came, 5:00 pm, I took shots, 3 of them. Within 15 minutes the effects were already evident.
I would sit at my PC, and just free-flow. After typing became, um, involved, I'd quit, and go drink a bunch of water, and eat something tasty.

I was amazed, I still am, regarding the thoughts I came up with.

Oh, and weed doesn't work. Thoughts are like an out-of-control kaleidoscope. I've tried, and the next day, it's like: What the hell? This makes no sense whatsoever.

Duncan McGeary said...

I've noticed that if I'm already focused, and I get drunk fast as you say, that it can be very beneficial. But it's like everything has to be lined up a certain way, and it only happens, say, once every 5 times, which means I'm hungover five times to get one result, and the result, while it can be good, isn't so significantly better that I feel like losing four writing sessions is worth it.

I've tried to use it as a booster--for particular parts of books--but like I said, I seem to miss more often than not. The fact that I need the booster means I'm probably not focused. In other words, I already need to be partly there for the booster to have an effect, and if I'm already partly there, I can probably do it without the booster.

If that makes any sense. (Fuck I'm analytical.)