Thu 4 May 2006
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What ever happened to the great, reckless, and utterly inebriated author? Where has the grand American tradition of getting mercilessly sotted and sitting down and banging out whatever comes into one’s head gone? Why do we as a country no longer have any recluses living in remote locales, holed up with only a writing utensil and a copious amount of booze, churning out novels, essays, and short stories that could not be penned by anyone within a stone’s throw of sobriety, stopping only for a quick cruise around the countryside in a mind-bogglingly fast sports-car?
Perhaps what the country truly needs to perk up its stagnant cultural scene is a lane on every road (double-wide, well-lit, and, of course, padded on both sides) in which every man, woman and child with the capacity to write a coherent page of literature could traipse about to their liking after nights of brainstorming their next manuscript while drinking themselves into another dimension of time and space at their local bar, or preferably and more romantically, local pub.
And if one were to be so nit-picky as to point out the budgetary constraints that might be associated with said proposal, then perhaps all we need is a special type of driver’s license issued only to writers. When the inebriated writer is inevitably pulled over for reckless and borderline homicidal driving, he or she would present his license, and, instead of jail time, which so heavily taxes one’s creativity, the officer would issue an Author Under the Influence (AUI) citation, whereupon the offending writer would simply be locked in a room with a typewriter and ten reams of fresh paper. Release could be secured upon the completion of either two short stories, or, in especially heinous cases, a full novel.
It is all a question of trade-offs, as life usually ends up being. How would we rather live? In a country where we can rest assured knowing that we are safer at the expense of any semblance of anything decent to read? Or in a country where we can relax and enjoy volume after volume of great literature, but with the constant fear of being T-boned at 70 miles an hour by someone with a Blood Alcohol Content of 1.01? I’ll take death by Hunter Thompson over death by boredom any day of the week. Wouldn’t you?
Of course, I’m only kidding….but…..hmmm…