The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking By Olivia Laing


Since I am drowning in alcohol, the excesses of some of the latest and greatest, I need perspective.  And I find that through writing.


I will not say I have an entirely similar life to those of Cheever, (the only one who sobered), Berryman (suicide), Fitzgerald, Hemingway (suicide), Carver, …. These are the ones to whom I’ve been introduced in the “Trip to Echo Spring.”  I’m not even done with it, and though I look forward to the denouement, I need a mental break from it now.  A time to say, yes, these men were horribly sad, at many times in their lives, and my gosh: is that what it takes to be a writer????  I think these men had great empathy and not a lot of people skills.  Sensitive and unsure, they plodded along using alcohol as their “help” to get through.    


Why do I think I’m similar?  I think in another age in another family I could have become alcoholic.


I don’t even drink. 


I simply have the strongest most supportive family there is.


And these incredible poets and writers in some ways did not, at all.  And their lives have put my mind into turbulence.  I feel their dips their pulls.  I have those as do many.


But I am astonished by their dependence on the drink, among other addictive items. 


It seems impossible that they could write with such a dip and pull on their daily life. 


I thank God for my family.



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