Cool or caustic?
Daring or dangerous?
I can’t make up my mind. The more I read on the subject, the more I understand that alcohol is all those things.
Many famous writers of the 19th and 20th century were big-time consumers of booze. I was reading an interesting breakdown of their habits, from Stephen King to F. Scott Fitzgerald. These were/are some of the greatest creative minds of our time, and recognized as some of the most committed drinkers.
Looking online I was doing a tad of research as to whether alcohol spurs creative juices. There seems to be contrary notions on the theory. Instead, at least one modern day journalist speculates that writers, perhaps insightful and emotional creatures as a group, were not provoking their minds but instead self-medicating various symptoms of anxiety, angst and depression.
Then of course, they were human beings, with all the flaws and good qualities that we possess. They would be prone to the same factors that spur us to drink, be they good reasons or bad: popularity, social acceptance, availability.
The literature also reveals that some of these negative symptoms can be eliminated or minimized by drinking lower quantities when we do drink, tracking our consumption, and/or having non-drinking days.
And of course, the greatest of all English writers knew much of the effects of too much drinking….
From Shakespeare’s Macbeth [Act 2 Scene 3]:
Macduff: What three things does drink especially provoke?
Porter: Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.