Saturday, February 08, 2014

High art

(Inspired by this)

One stereotype about writers, musicians and other artists is that they rely on heavy use of drugs and drink to fuel their creativity.

That's a, let's just say, creative excuse.

Or, to say it the way I really want to: It's HORSE CRAP.

It's not hard to see why this stereotype persists, though. Creating something is, at least in part, fueled by a dissatisfaction that it doesn't already exist. Naturally, then, anyone bitten by the creative bug is going to be adventurous or at least curious. These same urges sometimes compel people to start using (and abusing) substances. There's a reason creativity is said to be channeled — because all that energy and curiosity can just as easily destroy someone as make them better at their respective craft. Some artists manage to be both drug-fueled and productive, but they're lucky more than anything. And guaranteed, the drugs aren't what make their ideas any good.

Granted, many classic books and albums explore drug-influenced themes. But their creators were otherworldly talents to start with. Plenty of people who abuse drugs and drink don't have a creative bone in their sauced bodies. And many talents have either kicked drugs or had them kill them. So much for that theory.

"LSD opened me up to ... hundreds of millions of universes. So in that sense it was an incredibly positive experience. However, I can't take psychedelics and perform as a professional." — Jerry Garcia, to Rolling Stone

I imagine the Hemingway/Thompson stereotype of the grizzled writer hunched over his typewriter with a Scotch, a cigarette and a scowl perpetuates because writers, in their creativity, find the archetype cooler than the reality. Those people don't need to see me in my writing mode (sober, smoke-free, laptop, somewhat decent posture). By that standard, I'm not cool at all. 

But I am alive, and that's pretty cool too.

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