The connection between being a writer and being intoxicated is pretty strong. Leslie Jamison talks about her own love affair with alcohol- the buzz that only got better and better. However, women drinker writers haven’t really ever got their due, the way their male counterparts have. Even habits have a preferred gender.
“While I was studying at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, I spent my nights at the writers’ bars on Market Street, and I spent my days reading the other writers who had gotten drunk in that town before I’d gotten drunk there: John Berryman, Raymond Carver, Denis Johnson. The myths of their drinking ran like subterranean rivers underneath all the drinking I was doing. Their drinking seemed like proof of their proximity to the terror and profundity of psychic darkness. As Patricia Highsmith argued, drinking allowed the artist to “see the truth, the simplicity and the primitive emotions once more.” Jack London wrote about the “imaginative” drunk for whom the “white light of alcohol” granted access to bleak truths about the human conditions — what he called “the pitiless, spectral syllogisms of the white logic.” Booze was illumination and consolation. It helped you see, and then it helped you survive the sight.”
The author of this essays traverses through the lives of recovering writers- writers who have toed the line between addiction and sobriety, and she concludes that even in recovery fiction can be made, great fiction nonetheless. Read Does Recovery Kill Great Writing? by Leslie Jamison.