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.