Heroes of the Moment, Part 2

Amy Shearn, Poets & Writer’s contributor and author

In her P& W March article, Amy says that gone are the days of hard partying writers. Gone are the writers who drank and smoked and abused drugs and managed to produce and publish brilliant prose. The habits set forth by literary lush granddaddies Fitzgerald and Hemingway and their grandsons Hunter and McInerery no longer exist. Why? Amy says that writers no longer have time to imbibe. They, like everybody else these days, no longer have the scratch either. Writers are not just writers anymore, she says. They’re marketers pitching their work, teachers, or professionals in other professions with little energy to slam cocktails and put out a chapter a day.

Today’s writers are straight edge. Health conscious and disciplined and dedicated to work, work, work. I can attest to this. Have you seen the image on my blog header? It’s an actual image of the desk where I compose. Have you seen the drink sitting next to the stack of books? It’s water. Plain, clear, boring water.

And what does that water do? It keeps me sober and clear so that I can write late into the night, urinate clean, and then wake up early the next morning to write again then move right over to my other job(s). Yes. Jobs. Writers, no matter how you cut it, have to supplement their income. And that income often is just enough to keep mouths fed and computers primed. Sometimes that income can fill those mouths with booze.

We all need a break and drinking, or whatever the release, be it from life or writing is necessary. We must decompress and whether that comes in a high ball or a glass of water, the departure from work itself makes all that effort, all that focus, all the time spent, one hundred per cent worth it. Step away from the computer. Step away from the journals and just live. Breathe and experience. Work will always be there.

Go get drunk.

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