I posted a status update on Facebook yesterday noting I was at The Yardhouse Restaurant, and that “at least they have good beer.” Someone responded asking me if I like to drink (yes, I like certain alcoholic beverages), and I found myself defending the stereotype of the drinking, binging, self-destructive writer. I’ve certainly had my scenes of inebriation, but I am simply lucky not to carry the addiction gene. Beyond that I have an inherent impulse toward beauty—meaning I cannot stand the way I look and feel after any sort of binge. Chocolate, tequila, smoke or deep-fried hush puppies, I don't feel good when I look bad. And I’m OCD about hygiene, so I can’t embody the unwashed, sloppy over-doer (nor can I be an effective hippie, but that’s another blog post).
In one of those universal existential confluences, moments after I posted my “I’m not a tortured, sloshy-drunk, self-mutilating writer” response, I received a friend request from a wonderful writer, Jacqueline Doyle, who has a story in the latest issue of the Santa Fe Literary Review, and read my piece, Demonios Y Canciones Mi Padre (live link to follow) there. In perusing her wall I found this wonderful essay she published in The Writing Disorder that interrogates the notion that writers generally create best when toasted. I found this excerpt apt: “But since I've gotten sober, I've noticed a few things. Not all writers are drunks. My own productivity has increased tremendously. Before I often wrote in an alcoholic euphoria after a night out of drinking, or induced a kind of euphoria sipping wine by my computer, and it sometimes produced results, but there wasn't much follow-through.”
In the past decade I have written memoirs for a nun, tutored children from Somalia, edited a college literary magazine, interned at Literary Arts in Portland, published a few stories, graduated from University with highest honors, given a speech to a packed house at the Schnitz, remodeled a fixer-upper, written grants for programs that helped, extended my emotional /intellectual horizons, made an intra-state move, started a business, regained my groove, placed my finger back on the pulse, joined Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, bought a smartphone, traveled, raised puppies, and most importantly--honed my writing skills. I bare myself here on The Paper Garden and hope some moments will resonate with you.