Personally, I don’t buy the alleged Hemingway dictum, ‘Write drunk, edit sober.’ For one, there is evidence that the author never said that and that he routinely wrote sober. Still, many believe that Hemingway said this. Maybe he said it drunk and didn’t mean it. Or maybe some creative internet guru just made it up during a hallucinatory moment and the quote went viral. Fake news gets a lot of attention. Sure, a certain emotional flow can come from getting high or drunk while trying to write one’s masterpiece, but to me, clarity and ability to make internal observations and analyses are best done sober. Besides, I don’t drink much – being the health conscious person that I am. Using alcohol or drugs as an excuse to act like one is writing is bullshit.
Anyway, this article in the Paris Review caught my eye as it contains some interesting remarks on writers’ experiences with self-induced altered states and the claim that such ‘heightened’ states of consciousness can make for great writing. Could be. But not for me!
To celebrate today’s holiday, we bring you an excerpt from our latest Paris Review Editions book, The Writer’s Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from “The Paris Review” Interviews. These quotes are pulled from the chapter “Do You Write Under the Influence?” Enjoy. —Jeffery Gleaves “I’ve found that there’s only one thing…
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