there is hope !!
page provides information for and against alcohol as an aid to creativity.
There is a myth of the alcoholic artist (Ernest Hemingway for example) whose creativity is boosted by ingesting copious quantities of alcohol to free the muse.
Notes based on Tony Buzan's "Book of Genius" published by Random House 1994.
useful way to look at this drug is to take the perspective of a Martian,
examining the effects of varying amounts of this particular liquid on the brain,
the nervous system and muscular system of the inhabitants of the Earth.
Prolonged use causes massive memory loss, disintegration of vital organs,
vocabulary and language impairment, disintegration of the muscular system,
eventual loss of brain cells, loss of balance and coordination, and a reduced
the up-side for those people who enjoy drinking, studies have shown that
moderate drinking, especially when the drink is taken with food, combined with
good exercise, can relax the mind and body, and may even in some instances be
helpful to the cardiovascular system. Some studies show that those who drink in
moderation have an additional two years life expectancy. As with the advice on
diet, it is essential to 'listen' to your body's real needs.
Notes from "How to Boost Your Brain Power" by Roger Yepsen published by Rodale Press, (c) 1987 (pages 92 - 97).
is a gifted chemical. Depending on how much is consumed, it can act as a food, a
drug or a poison.
For some authors and artists, alcohol seems to coax the muse out of hiding. Writer E. White once mentioned in a letter to a friend that a single dry martini could effectively dislodge his occasional writer's block.
is it that alcohol may help people stymied by a blank canvas or a sheet of
typing paper. The answer may be in this drug's special ability to simultaneously
lower anxiety and increase arousal:
might seem that if a little nip of alcohol helps, then a few more drinks would
really open the floodgates of creative energy. But in fact, these effects are
temporary, and more does not mean better. After an initial period of
stimulation, the brain's cells become less active, and the brief alcohol/sugar
energy boost is followed by the inevitable onset of fatigue.
for alcohol's power as a creativity drug, its reputation is largely a Myth. It
is not safe to assume that a glass of Pernod, for example, will confer upon you
the creative spark of the young Hemingway who sipped this yellow-green liquor as
he wrote in the cafes of Paris. And it is downright dangerous to infer that
heavy drinking is a key to artistic success, despite our many cultural heroes
for whom alcohol abuse was a central and at times colourful part of life.
trick of staying on alcohol's friendly side is to drink just enough and no more.
Many of us feel pressured to drink in certain situations: Drinking is not only
socially accepted, but at parties and conventions and business luncheons, its
use may be expected. The challenge here is to know yourself - your tolerance,
and your personal reactions to alcohol as a food, drug and poison.
is a neurotoxic agent at lower doses than was previously recognised, and does in
fact destroy brain cells. Even light to moderate drinking may impair such
high-order cognitive processes as abstracting, adaptive ability, concept
formation, and learning ability.
suffers, too, and drinking interferes with the brain's ability to process new
information and commit it to memory.
as a block to creativity
by Charles Cave
10 of the "Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron discusses the various blocks
to creativity. One of them is ALCOHOL - in fact, Julia Cameron described her
torments with drinking and how she completely quit.
I have always enjoyed fine wines, cold beer and cocktails, but over the last few months I have given up alcohol with the exception of a very occasional drink for special events. My main reason for doing so is to get more things done without being fatigued by drinking and the subsequent headaches. Too many times, I have lost complete evenings to creative endeavours because of drinking wine.
find non-drinking to be a very spiritual thing, in line with the Artist's Way,
and my mind remains clearer and most receptive to life. Instead of alcohol, I
drink water, or fruit juice.
is what I suggest you try:
you are in the habit of having a drink when you get home from work, or with
dinner, then have a glass of water instead. Save your drinks for the weekend
only. After a few weeks of this regime, you will discover the benefits of a
lucid mind and greater achievements. You may also find that you don't want those
drinks on the weekend.
get me wrong. I'm not a teetotaller or preaching the evils of alcohol. I'm
merely suggesting an experiment to improve your thinking and creativity.
writing this with a cup of coffee beside me, so my next experiment (more
difficult!) is cutting down the caffeine intake. Hmmm, I've tried it before and
it is difficult. Any suggestions? Substituting water doesn't work for me.
Last updated 16 December 2003
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