Words To Drink By

Tom Shone mulls over the wages of writerly drunkenness:

Certainly, for those who trade a little too heavily on darkness, the Ozzy Osbournes of the literary  world, the transition can be a rocky one. Stephen King says he cannot remember writing “Cujo”, he was so loaded; but after his family staged an intervention in 1987, emptying the contents of his garbage onto his living-room floorcocaine, beer cans, Xanax, NyQuil, Valium, marijuanahe quit, and the result was a marked slackening of tension in his work. One of the things that made “The Shining” such a great novel about falling off the wagon was that King didn’t know that was what it was aboutit was written from inside the belly of an obsession. Once he worked out what the real monster in the closet was, his work took on a therapeutic air, more concerned with the exorcising of internal demons than supernatural ones; it became baggier too, as if the elimination of one indulgence had forced a sideways move into another: the writing became drinking by other means.

Provincetown writers have tried hard to counter this trend. That's all I have to say. And if you want evidence that drunks can write, and I mean really write, just read Henry Fairlie.