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

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: Heroin Hates You Iggy Pop

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!


Pythia3 said...

I love cocktails and the romantic image associated with them...though, I don't know why considering I grew up with a horrible image of alcohol. Maybe that is why I romanticized the image - cuz I'm not 'that' kind of drunk! Yikes.
Another great quote.
I love to visit your blog!

Charles Gramlich said...

I seem to see bits of myself in some of these stories of writerly drunks. Quick, I need a beer.

Cheri said...

I love alcohol too.

Earl said...



the walking man said...

Michelle I don't know how to write through a hangover anymore. Don't know if my sober writing is better than my hangover writing because there is no headache telling me I have to push forward, no upset stomach, no constant dry mouth that allows me to speak with my finger tips instead of constantly sipping on some hair of the dog.

All I know is I have to, even if I take a day off and just write comments or sit for an hour and put up a new piece, I just have to do it. No matter if it's good bad or ugly, I just have to just like I had to when I was drinking every day.

I tried stopping like a dear friend said and the words wouldn't stop running through my head.

I believe that this is my drunk, to just get the words out without caring what happens to them afterwards.

Although I have never fallen on a flat floor completely sober yet I think that may soon be in my cards.



eric313 said...

Brilliant ending. Damn.

Barry Fitzgerald said...

I've had enough to last me the rest of the way.