Whether glamorized or pitied, the figure of the alcoholic writer has long been a subject of cultural fascination. Having written a book on the usual suspects—Hemingway, Fitzgerald, et al.—Olivia Laing asks the unfortunately necessary follow-up question: okay, but what about the women?...more
Posts Tagged: alcoholism
In the years before he showed up in Lubbock, he wandered the streets of downtown Dallas near Fair Park. He hung out in abandoned apartment buildings, run-down hotels. He huddled in crack houses. He slept under bridges and a few nights on the air conditioning unit of a hotel....more
You didn’t ask directly about gender, but I’ll answer anyway: I stuck with men for a more personal reason, which is that my experience as a child was with a female alcoholic and the subject was just too painful for me.
A few days before we left a life in New York, my then-husband drove home drunk from a bar in the Bronx...more
Writer, journalist, and critic Olivia Laing discusses her newest book, The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking, and the challenges of looking into the mind of an alcoholic versus the mind of a writer....more
The headaches, my difficulty focusing, my specimen-daze, that floating island, my spastic, nervous heart—which are side effects from drinking, and which were inevitable?...more
Alcohol and authors. It’s a subject so old and rich and fraught you could write a book on it—which is exactly what Olivia Laing did.
That book is called The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink, and Blake Morrison’s review of it in the Guardian is itself a great essay on the subject, covering writers’ love and loathing of liquor in real life and on the page....more
For two days, I fight the story welling up in me, denying the itch of the burn, the angry redness biting at my skin. And then I wake up the third day and say to myself, “My mom was raped when she was my age. When she was twenty-seven.”...more
Al-Anon sucked. If I hadn’t been too broke for therapy, I’d never have taken a friend’s advice to attend those awful meetings. They were worse than the AA meetings I’d been to over the years in support of my string of alcoholic boyfriends—three, if you’re keeping count....more
Joshua Mohr’s second novel returns to the seedy side of San Francisco, where the addicted and the lost search for redemption....more
Michelle Wildgen’s second novel traces the residents of a sustainable-food co-op through crises, adjustments, and reinventions....more
Robert Hass, Bush’s War, and the death of a father...more