9 Insightful & Hilarious Quotes About Alcohol from the World's Greatest Writers
Alcohol. Drugs. The catalyst for so many writers' creativity, the friend that they can never seem to forsake, or at least this is the “stigma” that surrounds those who wield words. Why does addiction seem to plague artists? Maybe it’s because good art aims to inspire, entertain and teach. I believe all art, in this case, literature, attempts to tackle the ultimate question: Why are we all here and what does it all mean? It’s a question with a force that can’t be measured in gigatons and yet it weighs on the individuals who ask it. It’s heavy “AF”, as the kids would say. Good writers ask it and they fight the gargantuan force of it with addiction. Or maybe they just love a good time.
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The idea that the world’s greatest writers seek to solve life’s intellect mysteries via storytelling, could be one of the reasons masters of scribe battle addiction. Many of these souls have been awarded the noble prize for literature. This might just be the romantic story we tell ourselves as we glamorize struggle. However, none of that has anything to do with why I idealized Ernest Hemingway growing up. Nor was it because of how he reinvented the wheel with his seemingly simple prose in an era when all anyone wanted to do was drown you with articulation. I loved him because he boozed. Hard. He did it right, he did it all through the night.
Being that I am from Wisconsin (#drinkwisconsinbly), an indulgent writer epitomized everything I thought a man was supposed to be: witty and endearingly drunk. I mean the man had his own Ballantine Ale ad. This is not to say that there weren’t some fantastically drunk women throughout the history of literature. When Master Hem and Scotty Fitz were out there knocking them back so was Zelda. We always hear about how William Faulkner infamously went into a writer’s room with a bottle, but we don’t always hear about how Marguerite Duras was able to regularly down eight liters of Bordeaux before passing out. Dorothy Parker famously once said, “I’d rather have a bottle of booze in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.” Some of these writers led tragic lives, that being said, we interrupt this rant for a brief in memoriam...
A Few Firewater Fatalities:
-F Scott. Fitzgerald
Addiction is obviously a slippery slope, but all things are okay in moderation. There's an upside to vices. Sometimes there is nothing more therapeutic than going out to a bar with friends after a long day, making hilarious memories and connecting with people we probably never would have connected with otherwise. When inebriated, we lack inhibition and speak more truth than normal. The following list consolidates some of the most vaguely depressing quotes and the more optimistic from notorious truth tellers. Writers write what they know, and for better or worse, these folks knew booze. ..
Disclaimer: the words of some true connoisseurs did not make the cut due to personal preference and length---- we’d be here all day.
1. "The tragedy was not even the first drink, because the first drink was not the first resort but the last." -Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train
2. "There was a kindliness about intoxication ---- there was that indescribable gloss and glamour it gave, like the memories of ephemeral and faded evenings." -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned
3. "That's the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen." -Charles Bukowski, Women
4. "Alcohol doesn’t console, it doesn’t fill up anyone’s psychological gaps, all it replaces is the lack of God. It doesn’t comfort man. On the contrary, it encourages him in his folly, it transports him to the supreme regions where he is master of his own destiny. " -Marguerite Duras, Practicalities
5. “I tell you, Mr. Okada, a cold beer at the end of the day is the best thing life has to offer. Some choosy people say that a too cold beer doesn’t taste good, but I couldn’t disagree more. The first beer should be so cold you can’t even taste it. The second one should be a little less chilled, but I want that first one to be like ice. I want it to be so cold my temples throb with pain. This is my own personal preference of course.” -Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
6. "War and drink are the two things man is never too poor to buy." -William Faulkner, A Fable
7. “Only a pint at breakfast-time, and a pint and a half at eleven o’clock, and a quart or so at dinner. And then no more till the afternoon; and half a gallon at supper-time. No one can object to that.” -Richard Doddridge Blackmore, Lorna Doone
8.“Three be the things I shall never attain: Envy, content, and sufficient champagne." ---- Dorothy Parker, The Portable Dorothy Parker
9. “Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”- Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
Side note: Stephen King doesn't remember writing Cujo because he was all coked up.
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