My pseudo-blog revisited: Here are some interesting tidbits.
Malcolm Lowry had to
drink out of a urinal pot while housed in a Mexican jail. Kerouac was
considered Dementia Praecox (schizophrenic). In his later years he was a shut
in that watched Beverly Hillbillies episodes with a bottle of whiskey next to
his lazyboy chair. Truman Capote would
check himself into a sanitarium after he would finish a novel or screenplay.
Philosopher/Math genius John Stuart Mill kept his waste in little jars, sealed. Why am I writing this?I guess I am
fighting at not being “writer besotted”. That is, namedropping authors, being
too fascinated with author’s eccentricities than one should. How they dealt
with life as it came at them.
The anomaly has always fascinated me: Nobel
laureates for Literature (Hemingway, Steinbeck, Sinclair Lewis, Eugene
O'Neill, a non-Laureate named Scott Fitzgerald for starters -- all
extreme alcoholics) who got the dry heaves when they went without alcohol for
more than 48 hours. Faulkner desperately lining his coatpockets with bottles
during Prohibition when he lived in a little apartment in the French Quarter in
New Orleans and wondering how he could last without always have a bottle of
whiskey lying around. Jim Thompson used to go to a flophouse in New York City
across from his publisher’s building and for a few months fuel himself on
alcohol and cigarettes and then when he finished the novel in question, fall
into a great delirium of depression.
smacks of romanticism in literature, almost as if Thompson was in a paradise of
depression, the way I’ve heard it. Mostly when writers who drank a good bit
before there was Prozac and when the first crude tranquilizers weren’t even
around until the 1920’s from what I’ve heard, their form of medication was
liquor.Why is any of this interesting to me, personally? Because there is this
relationship between some writers who were almost literally bums, that is,
living a squalid lifestyle, some of them constantly roaring drunk, and their
output, which some of it was and is considered great.
Louisiana, especially around New Orleans, is a fat, drunken state. It
is know for the expression "Laissez le Bon Temps Roule'" Let the Good Times Roll. The Mardi Gras is here.
We've had more crooked politicians than a banana republic. Our
state law is still based on the Napoleonic Code. And I've met some strange people in
this place. I’ve been to a bar in Sun,
Louisiana where a lot of the biker patrons were packing heat. Most amusing
gentlemen. I’ve been to a place in Mississippi where if you found a dead
raccoon in the road you could trade it in for a pint of whiskey in the Bottoms
of Franklin County.I’ve worked as a laborer during college summers at
refineries like the massive Exxon refinery where literally half the plant
was drunk or stoned. So I wrote about it in my novel SKIMMING THE GUMBO NUCLEAR
and tried to insert every apocryphal myth and legend about Louisiana culture
within it. I've had a guy come after me with a knife once. I've
met maniacal offshore roustabouts in Lafayette who spent their entire
month's pay in one night, buying drinks for crowds of people.
I guess all I really care about is, how
could some of these authors, considered social misfits, derelicts, ended up
turning out very interesting books. Why were the good citizens and bigshot
businessmen of Cross Plains, Texas ragging Two-Gun Bob Howard about getting a
real job instead of writing when he was making more money then most of them,
bankers and businessmen alike. Maybe it does not matter. I’m sure there were
just as many authors who turned out great fiction and did not get into wild
insane adventures. Maybe it really doesn’t matter, just the actual prose itself
on its own.But if the prose was already considered good writing on its own then
why not find out about the author as well.
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