"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking." Airplane.
I wasn't intending to broadcast to the whole blogging community that I'm ditching the booze but I think it's worth mentioning given the connection it's always had with my writing.
You see, in the early days of writing Driving Exile when I hated my job with a passion, I used to sit up at night, long after Dos had gone to bed with a bottle of wine or vodka and plough my way through it while I furiously typed away.
With this an amazing thing would happen, I'd forget my crappy job and all of the idiots in it and I'd become absorbed in the words on the screen. Not just the words, but the world I'd created.
"Sod work!" I'd giggle to myself as I topped up my glass. "I don't care!"
10,000 words later, I'd stagger to bed at about 3 or 4am and then get up in the morning and cry in the shower because I was so hungover and had to go to work.
Now, this wasn't a nightly occurance. Probably happened once a week, maybe even once a fortnight. I'd console myself in the fact that I'd written some really good stuff (albeit stuff that required some serious editing...) and that I was a Writer! Capital W! That's what us arty types do. I'd found my true calling and the day job just funded it.
I still very much believe that's the case. I was born to write and I'll do my very bloody best to make it a career for myself.
Aside from the novel I wrote whilst I was in alcohol heaven (honestly, I wonder why my characters always have booze in their hand in almost every scene...), I've actually made some terrible errors in judgement while hitting the bottle. All of the crap things I can associate with 2011 have been largely due to how drunk I've been.
Like I said, I don't get drunk all the time but when I do...I do.
I went to several concerts this year and have got to say, don't remember much of the fabulous bands I saw. I've tried to wrack my brains to remember the Iron Maiden gig in Manchester but I can only remember bits of it. Know I had a great time but that's neither here nor there when you can't recall it very well. It's not like I can regale people with tales of it in years to come.
At least I could always console myself in the fact I wrote some of my best stuff when I was under the influence.
Or did I?
Probably not, actually. I bet I wrote most of Driving Exile when I saw sat having a nice cup of coffee in my favourite Caffe Nero in Liverpool. Or when I stopped at the Starbucks at the services on the way home from visiting friends in Manchester. Or when I was just sat in my flat, sans vino.
I tried to write after having a few to drink about a week ago but I found I couldn't do it. With the Side Project, I've written it in sequence rather than all over the place like Driving Exile and found that my brain couldn't process the linear story so I gave up and listened to Nights with Alice Cooper on Planet Rock instead.
It's Christmas and there's booze-a-plently but I have to say, I'm not feeling tempted at the moment.
I went to see Steel Panther, Motley Crue and Def Leppard last night at a gig in Manchester and was determined to remember it. Glad I was sober or else I doubt I would have met Michael Starr from Steel Panther or remembered the (excuse my French...) fucking awesome drum solo from Tommy Lee, or perhaps how surprisingly good Def Leppard are and how much I actually like them (I was unashamedly there for Crue).
I'm not at a stage were I feel like I need to empty the cupboards and drain every drop of alcohol down the sink, which was rather beautifully pointed out by Uno yesterday. "Em, I don't think you're quite at the AA stage yet but perhaps work on exercising some self-control first. I'll help you with that," She said to me yesterday when I ploughed in with my usual all-or-nothing-bull-in-a-china-shop approach to anything in life.
"Yes, cutting down is a good idea. You're just a...terrible drunk," Was Dos' response with a small wry smile.
I made a comment yesterday that people sometimes find confiding and keeping promises to strangers is easier than with those you're closest to. I firmly believe that, despite how messed up it is.
So, with that in mind, I'm telling all of you and making a promise that I'm cutting the Sauce, Giggle Juice, Canned Heat, Red Eye, Hooch, Tipple, Hard Stuff, Poison...whatever you want to call it.
It'll make me a better writer and a better person in the long run.
Wish me luck.