Is good writing linked to heavy drinking?

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In a Guardian review and discussion of The Trip to Echo Spring — an upcoming release by Olivia Liang — Blake Morgan examines the history of the writer-drinker and why the two vocations are so often linked. Not surprisingly, it’s a muddled story, and not a new one — Shakespeare and even Homer warn against the excesses of alcohol abuse. Morgan’s article at times devolves into a dizzying litany of alcoholic anecdotes, but in the final paragraph he most strongly suggests that productive booze-hounds might be the exception, not the rule, echoing (in my mind) Mary Karr’s well-circulated May interview with The Fix:
“I’ve been sober almost 25 years and anything anyone’s ever bought from me has been written when I was sober…[L]ook at somebody like George Saunders — I think he’s the best short story writer in English alive — that’s somebody who tries very hard to live a sane, alert life. You’re present when you’re not drinking a fifth of Jack Daniel’s every day. It’s probably better for your writing career, you know?”

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–Jake Zucker is the Editorial Assistant for Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, and wears sunglasses on the net.

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