Hemingway said “Write drunk, edit sober”. This sounds like a great idea when you’re stuck and feel like an excuse for a glass of something. In practice, it never really works out for me. I had this great plan once of drinking a couple of glasses of absinthe and spending all night writing poetry. Absinthe is great for staying awake, because it seems to have all the effects of making you drunk except the sleepiness factor. You feel giddy. But being giddy isn’t really conducive to getting work done.
So instead, I messed around on the internet for hours.
Alcohol is too much distraction for me. I lose interest in the work and go do something less taxing, like watch four straight hours of noir-y Irish drama starring Iain Glen. But man. I had no idea what to write tonight, so off I went to the fridge in search of gewürztraminer. (alt+ 0252, as it turns out.) Gewürz was achieved. And then I thought about Hemingway, and that quote, and here we are.
I’ve actually never read Hemingway. People go on and on about him as the “great American author” or whathaveyou, and that rather puts me off. I mean, the great American films are always things like Citizen Kane and The Godfather, and I’m sorry but the Godfather especially was dull. It was dull! And this is me, friends, I adore mobsters. They didn’t have to win me over, they already had me. But then they lost me. (I have the book, but I’ve yet to read it. We’ll see if it’s better than the movie.) So, “great American” I interpret as overrated. And Hemingway has been relegated further down the eternal list of “classics I have to get around to one day” than perhaps he might have been.
(Orson Welles is hilarious, though. I’ll always like Orson Welles, because of how strongly I associate him with Pinky and the Brain. Bless Maurice Lamarche. How on earth did they manage to get a joke that obscure in a children’s cartoon?)
I follow more and more writers on Twitter these days. I love that; I love to read about writing, and hear what people are reading. It’s motivating. Some of them get excited about up-and-coming novels they’re keen to read. (The only one I’m excited about is The Winds of Winter, and we don’t even have a release date.) That’s one of those things writers with a website should do: read new books, review them on their site, get more traffic. But I feel bad reading new books. I have so many old books left to read. I haven’t even read Jane Eyre! Can you believe that? Think of how much pop culture I’m not totally understanding! I’m only just now halfway through Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is utterly depressing. It’s been my read-on-the-bus book, but I’ve been listening to music more lately instead, because so depressing. The strange part is that it really is worth reading. There’s so much in there that is a part of our culture now.
So Hemingway will have to wait. Sorry, Hemingway.