WHY DO I WRITE WHEN I AM DRUNK?

  • Sumo

I always try setting out random thoughts on paper after ingesting a couple (or more) swigs of high quality alcohol. The mind is not (yet) impaired by the beast of inebriation but is just alert but carefree enough to perpetrate a flow of feelings and induce a rich vein of emotions that reek of uncanny honesty. This is the perfect state of mind, which every single drinker desires most in the present, but is extremely wary of in hindsight. Or at least this is the state of mind which I desire to be possessed of, if not in perpetuity, then at least for a prolonged duration. But in accordance with the ‘hindsight phenomenon’ as alluded to in the preceding lines, I am plagued with a sense of foreboding and guilt every time I look back at the lines that I have penned whenever I have had the power of alcohol coursing through me. Looking at the spontaneous notes in a state of sobriety causes me, in varying degrees, sheepish embarrassment, raw vitriol, a surge of shame, and a resolve never to resort to such abandon in future. But why is it that an act that initially creates such unbounded enthusiasm and vigour inevitably lead to remorse? Why is it that the lines that appear at breakneck speed like rolling waves that unceasingly crash against immobile rocks, lend a false sense of complacency by initially flattering but only to deceive?

Whiskey

 

Here I wish to digress a tad bit to reveal yet another facet of alcohol induced writing. Once the effects of the drink begin settling in, there appear out of the inner recesses of my consciousness, a few names. These names then provoke, plead and persevere action in the form of text messages and personal notes. To make matters very clear, it is not that these designated or chosen ones know the exact moments at which you not only imbibe but also enter into the transcendental zone of a pleasant high and then exhort you to make contact with them (although if the messages keep haunting their cell phones every Friday and Saturday evenings it does not take a Sherlock Holmes to deduce the fact that the sender is not in a state of complete balance). In fact, they are in all likelihood, not willing to be bothered by a flood of peculiar messages stemming from one whom they consider to be a friend or in a few cases, a close friend or in very rare conditions, an extremely close friend. Whether attributable to a perennial quirk of coincidence or a force of habit, these names never vary and – this is an extraordinary piece of personal revelation – the sequence of sending them the messages also do not vary. If the first message the previous Saturday was sent to Elizabeth, it is to her that this Saturday’s first message would be transmitted. Similarly, if the third recipient in the first ever list was Joanne, her place is sealed for all practical purposes as she will always be the third recipient. Before I forget the fundamental objective behind this piece and ramble on like a demented soul, suffice it to say that the rules that apply to spontaneous writing equally apply to the unprompted, unstructured and unplanned flow of messages as well – excitement at the outset, embarrassment later on.

So what is it that makes a man write when he is simultaneously loading himself up with the poison of his choice? To avoid sounding like a sexist or a misogynist, I need to make a clarification here. Man for the general purposes of interpretation includes woman. Now that the gender based niggles are out of the way, let us focus in depth on the primary issue. Does one write because one is high or does one get high only in order to be able to write? Do the styles, content and context of the writing get embellished under the influence of a certified and approved brand of Scotch? If yes, why is it that the same embellished piece read like tripe the very next day? Does the infusion of a strong brew bestow oneself with courage to write stuff which otherwise would be deemed too very sensitive, delicate, embarrassing or even honest to be put to paper?

Yes. I think it is the fact that an infusion of a strong brew indeed bestows one with courage to write stuff which otherwise would be deemed too very sensitive, delicate, embarrassing or even honest to be put to paper, that makes writing under the influence of alcohol a sincerer, worthwhile, pure and unadulterated exercise than writing in a somber state. It is more a challenge of facing your inner demons than getting inspired to churn out a publisher’s delight. But one needs to take care to ensure that the brew only influences but does not over influence or impede either one’s thinking capability or the structure of the work. An unhinged bout of binge consumption that leaves one half dead is no inspiration for coherence, let alone writing. Hence there is a direct correlation between quantity and quality. The right quantity of quality alcohol might result in a quality piece of work. The relationship between alcohol and writing that way, is always and will forever be linear. Doing injustice to one is deceiving the other. Disrupting this symbiotic and reciprocal balance is a veritable recipe for disaster. Prudence in consumption hence directly results in a more appreciable form of writing. Even though an absolute drunkard might speak the absolute truth, no gospel was ever written in a state of hopeless inebriation! Hence, going by this comprehensive and circular logic, there should be no reason for one to either fear, feel embarrassed or get overwhelmed upon reading what was written under the influence of alcohol. What may read like ramblings in hindsight might constitute the innermost feelings of truth that do not want to be recognized, revealed or recalled. Failed endeavours at love, filial discords, fragile friendships and frustrated frailties and foibles, while resulting in some embarrassment when in an alert state, find their consolations and justifications in a state of spontaneity. Repressing such spontaneity leads to irreparable damage, both mentally and physically. Hence these so called ramblings and rants of the mind need an outlet and for a person having a penchant to write and a passion to consume alcohol, such an outlet is revealed when one gets to that zone of a pleasant high. Lest I be misconstrued as suggesting that every honest piece of writing needs to be preceded by a state of mild inebriation, let me amplify that this logic is restricted to those who feel an irresistible urge to write during or after the consumption of a tolerable portion of alcohol.

I am one of that species. I expect to remain within the strata of such species and I also am firmly convinced that I will continue writing once I reach my specific and personal zone of a pleasant high and by a direct corollary, respect the urges of my conscience and hence persist with the text messages too! I am extremely sorry dearest Liz and Joanne, but so long as I have your numbers and so long as you continue tolerating me as a friend, the flow will continue!

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