Tasting notes

I spend too much of my time apologising for not writing my blog and not enough time writing it. Anyway, this morning, it’s still dark, and I’m back at my desk, chest aquiver with the tachycardiac flutter of writer’s cramp.

So, words of encouragement to kick us back into motion.

“Ask the Paris Review” this week got a letter begging for help with a writer’s block problem. The PR booted the question upstairs to a real live writer, Joshua Cohen, who wrote back with a formula:

Drink and drugs. Taken in cocktail of course. Failing which, plagiarism or suicide.

‘Write drunk and edit sober,’ was Hemingway’s advice too. But those of us who do our writing between 5 and 7am (sometimes) are pretty much excluded from drinking scotch (as Cohen recommends) while we type,unless we want to become automatically one third of an alcoholic (if you score more than two on the CAGE questionnaire, you’re a probable booze hound).

But I guess there’s nothing to stop us laying into the Ritolin. Here‘s Lapham’s handy chart of who wrote what with his brain addled by which knee-knocking, spirit-crushing, nonsense-spewing, sponge-creating substances.

I recommend printing it off, cutting out each author, and playing a drinking game of consequences. Each player takes the substance on the paper they draw, and then tries to finish a sentence without putting their head through the floorboards or their feet in their eyeballs.

Steven Wells, now since taken to his dealer, said: “Novel writing isn’t an “art form”. It’s typing on drugs.”

And he had a sort of verbal vomitary hallucination of what kind of mushroom soup his typing on drugs would produce:

“Novels should be more like comics and action movies! Visceral, gaudy, exciting, vulgar, cheap, nasty, banal, cheesy, tasteless, head-exploding and gut-wrenching technicolor roller-coaster rides through the nerve-shredding extremities of human behaviour. Cheap thrills! Books that spew 10 ideas a page at you, that leave you breathless, sweating, frightened, excited, inspired and with urine-drenched trousers.”

So, who’s game for a creative experiment? All you need’s a bottle of pills and a pair of plastic trousers.

Failing which, plagiarism or suicide.

Does anyone wish I’d stayed away?


~ by David Thorley on November 17, 2010.

2 Responses to “Tasting notes”

  1. No. Here are some pills I found down the back of the sofa – give them a go.

  2. If you found a pair of plastic trousers nearby too, you can be sure someone’s been sneakily Hunter S Thompson-ing on your settee. This is starting to sound like Springwatch: I could be the Bill Oddie of psychostimulated poets.

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