Under the Influence

How do writers write under the influence of alcohol? I can barely keep my eyes open after a glass of red. While the cocktails and spirits with mixers can hit me quite late in the night, the wine hits my sleep nerve directly.

I won’t be able to write a single coherent sentence after a large glass of red. And for that matter white.
Like tonight – after two wonderful glasses of red wine from the hills of Montepulciano, the Montepulciano_d’Abruzzo, my brain seems mellow. I want to call all my old boyfriends and tell them about how good life is now. But when I try to write a rhyme or a sentence that describes an emotion, I fall flat. Not literally, but close.

So on days when I have to write a lot, when I set myself a target, wine becomes a reward. Something to look forward to, after a session of writing, after meeting targets, after meeting deadlines. I once had a boyfriend who was more obsessive about my writing targets than me. He used to make sure that we never got anywhere near the wine before my quota of words have been completed.

So I wonder about writers, great ones, who cannot write without the drink. Is it because they wanted to escape into the world of fantasy? Or is it something chemical in their brains? Or maybe they had a better reaction to alcohol than me.

So, instead of an enabler, it is a reward. Instead of drinking and then missing deadlines, I finish deadlines and indulge.

I was at a workshop once with other children’s writers. I saw a couple of them literally write all day energised by wine. They had a bottle next to their computer, a glass fully filled and they typed away. I envied their stamina because the more I looked at the bottle, the more tempted I was. But I knew that my body worked in a different way. I couldn’t write and type at the same.

Do not operate heavy machinery is the key warning for many people who take medication. For me, it would be do not drink before churning heavy words. The words would slur on paper, smudge on rhymes and meander on the lines.

What is your relationship with the bottle? Does it make you write better? Or you drink hot tea and look for chocolates as reward?