In high school I got sick off gin and swore it off forever.
Except I developed a taste for it in my thirties. The myth of drink for writers is intense. I am not immune to it, but it’s got less to do with my writing than with my psyche. But I can’t write when I’m shitfaced anyways.
I admire Bukowski and can concede that his affinity for drink may have had an effect on his work. Yes, drinking changes us, probably changed him––maybe he allowed it to became his companion. But certainly the core of Bukowski as a writer and poet was himself, his life experience, his childhood, his memories, etc.
My dad kept a bottle of Johnnie Walker under his chair for many years. I think he knew we knew, but did he care? I don’t care if you know about my bottles, I kinda wear them on my sleeve.
Maybe the bliss
that came with drinking came
only after a certain period
of apprenticeship. Eddie likened
it to the holy man’s self-flagellation
to experience the fullness of faith.
––excerpted from “Gin” by Philip Levine