What with The Fault in Our Stars and Romeo and Juliet people might
Authors are not only known for their creative works of genius but for the fuel behind their literary fires. The stereotype is that most authors are raging alcoholics that very likely have more alcohol than blood coursing through their veins. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite writers and their indulgences during all their late nights and booze-soaked days.
1. Ernest Hemingway
“Write drunk, edit sober.”
The granddaddy of them all, Hemingway had a rather diverse taste in drink, if you will. Clearly, his favorite drink was not wine, as his writing didn’t get better with age. However, with his taste for a refreshing mojito came just as refreshing bare-bones prose and insults, paving the way for other realist writers.
2. Edgar Allan Poe
“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
Perhaps one of the most tortured poets of the American Romantic Movement was Poe. But with that torture came the facts of raw feelings he tried to subdue with drink and drug use, thus giving us some of the most melancholy works of poetry. Finally, at the age of 40, he succeeded in quieting his inescapable sadness and America lost one of its legendary writers.
3. William Faulkner
“Civilization begins with distillation.”
A man whose headstone is often found with a bottle of whiskey on it, Faulkner’s life was plagued with binging. A relative unknown until 1949, until he received the Nobel Prize for Literature, Faulkner became popular for his careful attention to diction and cadence in his writing – the exact opposite of his contemporary, Hemingway.
4. Dorothy Parker
“I love a martini–
But two at the most.
Three, I’m under the table;
Four, I’m under the host.”
Parker was one of literature’s bad girls and member of the Algonquin Roundtable. With her taste for booze and fun, the self-proclaimed ‘drinker with a writing problem’ was a diabolical creature, exploding with wisdom and quips that put any man to shame. Rarely is her work taught in schools, but her reputation of love, drinking, and liberal ideas supersedes any textbook teaching. The poet has had many a drink created and named after her, a legacy she would be proud of.
5. Oscar Wilde
“I have made an important discovery…that alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities, produces all the effects of intoxication.”
The eccentric playwright had an expensive taste for absinthe and champagne. So dedicated was he to his love of alcohol that he eased the pain of his final few days with opium, chloral, and champagne, inspiring the line, “And now I am dying beyond my means.”
6. The Fitzgeralds
“Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.”
F. Scott and Zelda were notorious for being partiers and partakers of debauchery. As the writer of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott gave voice to the wild, unruly days and overindulgence of the 1920s. How lovely it is to reminisce of days gone by – if you can remember them.
7. Truman Capote
“But I’m not a saint yet. I’m an alcoholic. I’m a drug addict. I’m homosexual. I’m a genius.”
Breakfast at Tiffany’s author gained inspiration from being a raging extrovert and a raging (but fun) alcoholic. His daily regimen of liquids went from coffee to tea to sherry to martinis in one fluid motion, no doubt.
8. Stephen King
“Do you drink?”
“Of course, I just said I was a writer.”
Come on! The guy doesn’t even remember writing Cujo! OK, so that’s probably not a good thing, but as far as horror fans are concerned, King might have produced some of his best work in the 70s-80s, while producing a beer-soaked depression fest laced with cocaine. King feared that soberness would be the destruction of his creativity. Thankfully it hasn’t and we still have our favorite horror writer, still filling our sleep with nightmarish images.