Despite several irate comments regarding the article from New Hampshire residents, pointing out correctly that most of that wine bought in New Hampshire is most likely consumed in bordering states and by vacationers from as far as Canada passing through who can’t resist our low prices, there’s no doubt in my mind that the consumption of wine has gone up in the forty-one years since I’ve settled in New Hampshire. Once the state allowed the selling of wines not just in its own liquor stores, but in supermarkets, small groceries, filling stations, and even in drug stores, it became clear that the locals too were drinking wine. My other piece of evidence comes from our town dump, where the empty wine bottles are separated into their own bins and into which I take a peek every week while dropping my own empties. What became obvious over the years is not just the increase in quantity, but the improved quality of the wines that are being drunk. Since I associate wine with good life and civilization, knowing that everyone from the old Greek and Romans to our Founding Fathers drank it too, Benjamin Franklin even claiming that wine is a proof that God loves us, I find this to be a most felicitous development.
Want to wean yourself off gin, recover from tuberculosis, and work on your novel? Don’t go to Asheville, North Carolina. NPR reports that F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda spent two tumultuous summers in the town, where Zelda was in a psychiatric hospital and Scott was suicidal. For more on the unhappy life of Zelda, read our review of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.
Beer bongs are never a good idea. Besides the killer hangover you’ll inevitably wake up with the next morning, you might also steal literary art. When Mitchel Potter was a frat boy in 1987, he stole a bronze bust of Robert Frost from Wichita State University and hid it in his basement for 25 years until someone tipped off the police. Ironically, Potter didn’t even know who Frost was, but the prosecutor read “The Road Not Taken" at his trial.
Does it help writers to drink? Do they drink any more heavily than any other social group – doctors, lawyers, shop assistants or (see Mad Men) advertising executives?
Part of the mythology of grand alcoholic writers rests on our desire to see the many different parts of their lives as contributing to a unified artistic whole. And so the drinking must connect to the writing, either as a spark of creativity or as a release from that creativity. Or perhaps the sentimental association of drinking and writerly genius is just an attempt at forming a connection with the great authors of the past. Most of us can’t write like our heroes, but nearly every one of us can try to drink like them. But it is a poor tribute if Dorothy Parker’s wit, or F. Scott Fitzgerald’s melancholy, or John Cheever’s despair comes to be seen, finally, having emerged, already fermented, out of a bottle. Great writing, even from the legendary drinkers, was most surely done in spite of drinking rather than because of it; nearly all great writing is done in the light of sobriety. Bukowski also said, “It’s hard to write prose when you’re drinking, because prose is too much work.”
Depending on your persuasion, this blog post listing six songs about whiskey is either a funny article or a kind of public service.