They say having one or two drinks a day is good for you, don’t they? A couple of glasses of wine, or beer? It’s healthy, it tastes good, and it feels good. Loosens you up a bit, perhaps to be more creative as you let go of your inhibitions. Be bold. Be free.
But it’s a trap! Run, rabbit, run!
It might help, but more likely it will become a crutch, or hide the truth from you, like smoking pot or dropping acid and thinking you’re having all these deep thoughts, but they only make sense to other stoners. It will dim your light.
You’ll polish off a bottle of wine over dinner one night and then wake up all fuzzy in the brain, and still there is the blank page, and the few prospects you have for a post that day seem, “meh,” and now you’re writing about your drinking, and that certainly wouldn’t make your Grandma Carpenter proud.
But we do like reading about people’s weaknesses. I’ll admit I enjoy it when people share their pain. Not that I’m delighted with their suffering, but I want to learn about their humanity. I want more than the safe stuff, more than is comfortable to share. I want the stuff that makes our families wince.
Up to a point, anyway, and maybe past that point if it’s really gripping and well-done. But in general I don’t want all wretchedness, all the time. I want to read about fender benders and plunges into the ditch, but it can wear you out if the writer is always in the gutter.
Anne Lamott wrote:
I like for them to have hope — if a friend or a narrator reveals himself or herself to be hopeless early on, I lose interest. It depresses me. It makes me overeat. I don’t mind if a person has no hope if he or she is sufficiently funny about the whole thing, but then, this being able to be funny definitely speaks of a kind of hope, of buoyancy. Novels should have hope […] In general though, there’s no point in writing hopeless novels. We all know we’re going to die; what’s important is the kind of men and women we are in the face of this.
Yes! I can only tolerate a certain amount of reality. I want to pretend that everything will be okay.
I don’t know if — or how — I should give full voice to the crazy in me. We’re all crazy, and I love it when someone can let it out in entertaining and poignant ways, like Anne, or Jenny Lawson. But it seems there are many ways to express it that would only lead people to think, or say, “Wow, this guy is fucking crazy.”
Was I writing about alcohol, or the crazy? Does alcohol cause the crazy, or does the crazy just like alcohol? I’m reminded of the time I smoked a bunch of dope and drank excessively at a high school party and then got hauled off in a cop car to detox. (Except that, technically, I don’t “remember” much of it.) And then, …
Oh, dear, would you look at that? We’re out of space and time for today.