I blame it on Bukowski. I blame it on Burroughs, Hemingway, Huxley and all the other alcoholic/addict writers and artists. They are the reason my writing and poetry sucks. Their addictions were glamorized and made to seem like they contributed to their greatness. The truth is I can’t do anything better when I am under the influence. I can’t even read, never mind write. Maybe it’s true for others that drugs and alcohol enhanced their creativity but all I got out of it were substance abuse problems.
Before I started drinking it was Huxley who got to me . Reading the “The Doors of Perception” got me thinking hallucinogenics would be the key to unlocking my creative energy. I was wrong. When I was on them I couldn’t even think to write. The most I could do with a pen and paper was doodle all night only to wake up to find out I had no talent at drawing either.
Maybe the addicted writers et al. really were better when writing under the influence. Bukowsi and Hemingway were committed daily drinkers and they wrote some amazing things. Burroughs wrote “Naked Lunch” during an intense opiate binge. He pieced together scraps of notes he didn’t recall producing and made a best seller. But my favorite of his was “Junkie” where he talks of his attempts to get sober.
My only true muse was a good session of hypo-mania. Many times I would spend my days at work sketching out thoughts and phrases on scraps of paper and then go home to piece them into some sort of sensible poem. Still after many years of rereading and discarding, I’ve only got about 30 poems left worth showing to another person; never mind publishing. (Which was my goal)
At first I thought I was doing well with my substances. I didn’t drink or use drugs every day. Instead I binged. Going long periods with no use, then going over the top for a day or two or three. It wasn’t until much later in life I learned that style of drug use is a major red flag for addiction. Although I’ve ended my days with alcohol and other dangerous drugs; I still struggle. I think about doing something every day. My mental illness doesn’t help matters either, as I used the same substances to try to moderate my symptoms.
My main creative outlets now are this blog, emails I write to pen pals and my Twitter account. I guess I am doing better now if I can write something that makes sense to other people. But that is not always the case.
I don’t want to be one of those people who fucked up his life and now preaches to others. I just want to pass on my experience and the experience of countless others I’ve met later in life. I started out having great times under the influence. But later; I’m not sure when, a lot of my problems came as a direct result of using. My brain was too clouded to realize the cause and effect. Or I would go a while after a disaster and forget and try again. My experiences got worse as I got older but I was too addicted to pull myself out.
I want to say to anyone going down my path. If you are using to deal with your “demons” or bad things start happening as a direct result of using; stop as soon as you can. I wish now that someone had given me that advice when I was young but there was no one available. My uncle committed suicide the year I was born and it pretty much turned everyone in my family into extreme users of drugs and alcohol. I learned at a very early age to deal with my problems in the same unhealthy manner.
I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. I still have some creativity. I wrote this too long blog post rather easily. But I can’t help but wonder where I would be if I had never started using. I write pretty much for myself these days. I hope at least a few people read and can relate. I know a lot of older people can but this post is aimed at young people and telling what I wish I had heard at their age. I would suggest going over your work sober; no matter which creative field you are in; and see if you think it really is better.
So fuck you Bukowski. How can you quit your job and commit to being a full time drunk and still become famous? That is most certainly the exception while so many others labor in anguish. I think if I had any talent to begin with it was severely diminished by my chosen lifestyle. I can’t even think of a good way to end this post. I just want to ramble on forever. But I’ve already repeated myself too much.
In school, I wish they had taught us evidence based science about drug and alcohol abuse, instead of a police officer coming in and telling us that smoking weed would turn us into bloodthirsty killers. Here is a link to a post with more warning signs. Digital Nomad . Another huge red flag is continuing to use after a substance has caused damage to your life.