Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Liquid Inspiration

A lot of my writer pals use various stimuli to kick-start (or maintain) the writing process. Some just concentrate and the magic flows easily. But a lot of the writers I have met drink before and during the writing work. Everything from wine to to beer to whiskey. I've tried drinking alcohol to get the engine sparked, but it just has never worked for me.

What I do consume when I working on a story or a novel is coffee. Not tons of it. But I will go through two or three cups of hot coffee when I write in the afternoon to early evening. It keeps me sharp and helps prod my imagination.

I once read a brief biography of a writer who would retreat to his office on a Friday with a percolator and write and consume vast amounts of coffee until emerging a few days later with a completed novel. Forgive me, but I have forgotten the writer. I want to say he was a Frenchman, but the thing that struck me most was holing up in the room with gallons of coffee and not quitting until the book was ready. (I've read that the late George Simenon similarly survived on coffee as he produced each chapter of his novels.)

And don't laugh. Some writers can do things like churn out an entire pulp novel over the course of a weekend. The late Lester Dent was famous for that. He'd begin a book on Friday afternoon and by Monday morning there it would be: a 60,000-word novel of crime or fantasy or cowboys & Indians.

There was another guy I read about: he had to have sex with a woman every day to inspire his muse. His wife got tired of his demands, but not for the book contracts. So she helped him arrange the arrival of one prostitute or another every day to fire his mojo. Again, I'm terrible about recalling the stories but not the subjects, so don't ask me who this cat was.

So, here I sit. My coffee is steaming in its insulated container. The wordprocessor is open and working. And so am I.

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