I don’t drink. When you have a family with a history of alcohol and substance abuse, the whole scene loses its appeal. Sure, I have a few bottles of mead lying around, and a bottle of absinthe that my sister gave me a few years back which is waiting for the right occasion, and I’ve even made blog posts about microbrewed beers – but generally, I don’t drink.
I guess that this was never more apparent than at this year’s Halloween party. The thing is that I don’t go out to parties much, either – usually due to the fact that there’s nothing around me, I have eyes that won’t allow me to drive long distances after dark without killing myself and everything around me, and the fact that I’ve had a few too many negative experiences being around people who are drunk. The few positive experiences I’ve had were quickly negated by the dreaded ‘next morning’ and the realization that I probably wasn’t nearly as charming as someone’s beer goggles had led them to believe, and I was too gentlemanly to take advantage of the situation.
In addition to wanting to avoid the substance abuse issues that certain parts of my family are prone to, I’ve always been put off by people asking what kind of drugs I use to come up with my imagery – as if nothing creative can be done without somehow altering your mind. As if the human mind isn’t capable of taking apart and reassembling things without assistance. Maybe yours isn’t. I’ve never had a problem.
I used to be adamantly anti-drug, because of the really disastrous ways that the drugs around me messed up my life, even though I wasn’t ever using them. Now, I’m more of the opinion that ‘you can do whatever you want, just keep it away from me’. I’ve seen and lived enough examples of substances influencing behaviors to know that it’s just not something I can trust. In high school, hanging out with the potheads in the woods while they fashioned pipes out of aluminum foil and never, ever became anything worthwhile. Being cheated on by girlfriends. I never really fathomed how this was fun. They never seemed to be having a good time, and they still went back to it. Maybe it was a real physiological need. All I need is raw fish – though the costs of both habits are probably comparable.
In a perfect world, my every waking moment would be dedicated to making things. Nothing pretentious as ‘art’. I’m not a fan of the word ‘art’. I guess that I firmly believe that as a person on this planet, there’s a certain moral obligation to dedicate yourself to a greater cause after you’ve met the basic need to suvive – which is not to say that what I think I do is great, but I’m working towards it – and alcohol cannot possibly be something that helps that cause. There’s a certain amount of infidelity we display towards our ego, towards ourselves, towards our ideals when we’re drinking in excess. Tom Waits notwithstanding.
I just can’t bring myself to believe in this. I can’t bring myself to justify the escapism. If you feel the need to alter your mind to feel creative or to feel better about yourself, you don’t have enough control over your mind. If you need alcohol to have fun, you’re doing it wrong.
Most of the time, when I hear people talk about how art is their body and their soul and blah blah blah rainbow moon crystals, I take a look at their MySpace and get treated to a gallery of amateurish horrors. There’s the obligatory disproportionate nude, or something with anime eyes, and maybe something that looks like a Silver Raven Moonfoxwolfbear book threw up. Not to be an elitist, but if this if your soul, your soul is fucking ugly. Try harder. If this if your life, you’d better make it beautiful. There’s such a rampant, disappointing acceptance of art mediocrity, or artists blatantly copying the hard-fought styles of other artists. Why this is accepted I’ll never know. I have some ideas.
But no matter what your purpose is – spirituality, athleticism, art – it requires dedication. If you don’t have it, don’t get in my way. I don’t have enough time to be in a stupor, or step over you while you’re in yours.