Getting High

(First published in July 2008)

I just had a three-mile run and a quick shower, and the endorphins are still kicking in. Runner’s high, they call it. Now I’m sitting in front of my PC trying to update my blog and hoping to get a “writer’s high”. And should I fail to get the creative juices flowing, there’s a bottle of Scotch sure to give me a real kind of high every time.

But then again I would not be able to write anymore tonight because whatever little artistic inclination I have automatically gets flushed out the moment alcohol enters my veins, and it only makes me want to watch youtube music videos instead. I’m no Edgar Allan Poe.

I remember this book titled The Artist In Society – Problems and Treatment of the Creative Personality. The author, a psychiatrist, explains that contrary to popular belief that artists are more creative when depressed or neurotic, they are actually unproductive in states of depression and poor psychological health because the mental energy and emotional discipline needed to create are absent.

He further illustrates the subtle difference between the artist and the psychotic when both are in the state of withdrawal: the former uses isolation to focus energy into creative activity while the latter merely dissipates incoherent energy.

The book did not mention anything about artists getting drunk and what effect that would have on their creativity. Speaking only for myself as an artist-wannabe, I think it’s a bad idea to drink if you want to write, paint, sculpt or compose, because aside from messing up your mind’s focus, alcohol already gives you the high that you would normally get from creating. There is no more incentive.

Now some people might argue that if one can get high on alcohol – and alcohol gives a very reliable high – why spend time and mental effort writing or painting just to get high? Well I guess the natural high that comes from making a work of art is always healthier and lasts for a much longer time. And it also gives a high to those people who appreciate your art. In the movie Wonder Boys where Michael Douglas is a writer and his girlfriend is a voracious reader, Douglas says, “She was a junkie for the printed word. Lucky for me, I manufactured her drug of choice.”

Wow, isn’t it every writer’s dream to find a girl like that?

1 Response to “Getting High”

  1. July 4, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Whatever doesn’t matter getting high or low does it hurts to make someone happy or someone sad in this world of uncertain things.

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Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues


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