Alcohol, stars and imagination
This one time I was hanging out with a few friends in the outskirts of town, drinking and having a blast. When I got home, I was drunk, smelling of alcohol and wanted nothing but to go straight to bed. I didn’t do that, though. Instead of sleeping, I stayed outside the house and gazed at the starry sky.
Even though I was drunk, I somehow felt like my head was perfectly placed on my shoulders. Yes, I was dizzy and drowsy, but my thinking was all over the place and as clear as shallow water. I remember staring at that amazing, cloudless night and getting all philosophical on myself. The sky appeared to be a black sheet sprinkled with glitter, and the sight encouraged me to write. So I rushed inside and typed down some random stuff on my computer, then I returned out into the night and gazed upwards again. I repeated this several times.
Write drunk; edit sober.
– Ernest Hemingway
Late the next morning when I woke up, I was thirsty and feeling like crap. As I rehydrated myself, I read all the stuff that I had written during the night and I found myself grinning stupidly. I wrote some messed up things. Some really messed up things. Things that didn’t make sense. Things that I would never post on the internet.
But between those embarrassing lines was a story. A story that had somehow popped into my mind and landed itself in my computer. The story of a drunk guy that fell in love with a girl that was gazing through a telescope out her window. I liked this story. I liked it a lot. Of course, it was all chopped up and messy, but the essence of it was there, and with a bit of polishing I was sure it would be a great story.
So even though I was feeling terrible after all those drinks, I was glad that I had decided to write instead of sleep. I’m not saying I recommend getting wasted and grabbing a notebook and pen and jotting down everything that comes to mind, but if you want to, nobody can stop you. But even though getting drunk for writing is a strange and beautiful experience, it’s not the only way to find those hidden words deep inside your soul. You can write right after any type of experience, positive or negative. Did you break up with your lover? Write about it. Did you buy a new car and are absolutely thrilled about it? Write about it. Did your daughter bring a guy over for dinner and you thought that he was a complete jerk? Write about it. The important thing here is to write under any type of emotion. It’s a great way to relieve stress, plus, your writing becomes stronger. Your experience and your writing bond together and become something unique and amazing that makes up that wonderful voice that everybody talks about.
So get drunk, get laid, buy a house, meet a friend, lose your phone, run naked, play a sport—do anything and write about it. Get your imagination up and running. I’m pretty sure you’ll end up writing something the world would enjoy reading.
– Ralph Serr