-Stephen King, On Writing
I've never tried drugs and I've never consumed alcohol. In fact, I'm pretty anti-drug. With that being said, I have been curious about what it would be like to be under the influence. Not only would it provide a temporary escape from my crappy existence but I also wonder if it would help ease the tension of my writer's block.
I just don't have ideas. All these writers keep talking about these ideas that constantly flow through their heads and I just don't have that going on. Is it because the creativity isn't there? Or is it just blocked? And if that's the case, how can I unclog the ol' cranium?
If you've ever seen someone drunk or on drugs, it's pretty apparent their mind has been shifted to some degree. It's as if their mind has gone to a different location where they see and hear and feel things differently. Their on a different plane of existence. So what if that mind shift could be focused into a creative outlet? What if drugs open up different doors that usually remain closed? Some novels considered to be classics, such as Naked Lunch, have been written under the influence of mind-altering substances. Then there are others, such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, that while maybe not written while on drugs, are about drugs and considered important works. In his book On Writing, Stephen King states he doesn't even remember writing Cujo because he was so drunk.
For me, I wonder what would happen if I decided to dabble in drugs. Would it help or harm my craft? Stephen King doesn't think it'll do anything for me. In his book, he goes on to say:
These concepts are very familiar to most alcoholics; the common reaction to them is amusement. Substance-abusing writers are just substance abusers--common garden-variety drunks and druggies, in other words. Any claims that the drugs and alcohol are necessary to dull a finer sensibility are just the usual self-serving bullshit.
Basically, if you're an artist, you're an artist. If you're a drinker, you're a drinker. There's not necessarily a correlation between the two, except to say many artists are more inclined to become addicts but that doesn't mean the addiction fuels the art.
And my professor in college thought along those same lines. He also once told us that drugs had no effect on creativity. If it were any other professor, I'd would have thought they were just trying to be responsible and tell us that drugs are bad, mmkay? But this guy wasn't like that. He was the type that would go drinking with his students. He was open about his personal life and his own experiences with narcotics and I didn't see him being the type of guy who would lie and say drugs didn't contain any magical talent enhancing abilities when they in fact did. But he was adamant that it wasn't the case.
But I still can't help but to wonder. It's got to do something to you, besides give you the munchies. If it transforms your behavior, why wouldn't it transform your creative output? I don't know. Maybe drugs don't enhance creativity but rearrange it. You're brain goes through a tumbling when intoxicated, so why wouldn't your talent? And maybe it's just chance if the stuff that comes out is good rather than just plain incoherent.
Where do those ideas come from? Where is talent conceived? Is it pot or is it luck that creates a piece of art? Is it dope or daydreaming that creates the artist? I haven't decided but I'm curious to find out. That's not to say that drugs should be a quick fix for stifled ideas. It shouldn't replace hard work and constant practice. But what if it gave your mind a little push, a complement to the creative process?
I doubt I'll ever find out. I'm too much of a goody-goody to actually do drugs so I suppose I'll resign myself to just pondering it. With my luck, it wouldn't do anything good for me, just make me act like a fool. I can do that while sober, thank you very much. I'll just stick to being drug-free and mediocre. At least for now.