Tuesday, August 21, 2007
And Still We Are Not Saved
When William Faulkner passed out drunk on a radiator, incurring second and third degree burns on his back that would pain him for the rest of his life, someone asked why he drank so much. "Because it's fun," he replied. Ditto with his contemporary Hemingway who pulled down a chandelier on his head, scarring himself when in a similar state of inebriation. "I like it," he was reputed to say. This is probably the only time these two opposite stylists expressed the exact same sentiment in such few words. Although addiction runs in my genes, I don't quite have the propensity for that level of drama, although given that I am clumsy (I spill drinks before I start drinking and once walked into a bar in Wichita Falls and promptly fell head first into the floor without so much as a drop in my system. When I looked up, I saw a picture of James Joyce! That little bastard's head was right there, thinking of Dublin, no doubt.), I wouldn't doubt that I could perform similar trick to the chandelier one. My only real claim to any kind of infamy is that my grandfather once got put in the same dry-out hospital as Art Pepper, the great jazz musician. Neither had any money at that time, although Art had talent which my Grandpa Charlie did not, and the clinic, located in west Ft. Worth, had all the ambiance and soothing qualities of prison. No equine therapy for them!
William Styron wrote that writing is hell, that drinking is hell, and that you write the best you can through your hangovers. The picture I have of him above my desk shows the man looking quite worse for the wear, not a happy dude, despite all his success. Sometimes a person will ask me if I enjoy writing. I think of one of the first ideas I had for a book. I was six years old and had just heard the parable about the seeds, the one where some of them land on rocky ground and don't take root, some that land and don't get any water, some that grow, but are choked by weeds. Some seeds do grow, though, and he who has ears, well let him hear! I could see the harvest, so meager already. So much of what we do is futile, hopeless. But I keep throwing the seeds and water them with whatever is on hand.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it.” Louis Armstrong
Drinking music suggestion: Heroin Hates You Iggy Pop
Benedictions and Maledictions