It's no secret that many famous authors, especially the literary ones, are also drunkards. Stereotypes exist for a reason, and the half-sloshed author typing away like a demon with a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth while taking a swig from his whisky flask is as common as dreams about teeth falling out or taking an exam naked.
While I can't say that I've moved on to hard liquor yet, this year of novel writing has been pretty bloody tough going at times - and I'm speaking as someone who worked as a journalist for years before this, so it wasn't as though I was unfamiliar with the concept of spending my day toiling in the paper mines.
I think it was David Mitchell, the author of Cloud Atlas, who said in an interview that "the novelist is like a pregnant woman who delivers her own child unaided...a messy procedure, with lots of groaning". Good grief! You can see why writers take to the bottle.
With that in mind, below are some famous authors and their alcoholic vices. Click on the drinks for the link to a recipe and next time you're having a cocktail party, why not theme it after some of your favourite writers?
Raymond Carver - Bloody Mary
American short story writer and poet Carver's drink of choice was the bloody mary - that scrumptious combination of worcester sauce, tabasco sauce, black pepper, tomato juice, celery and the magic ingredient that binds them all together: straight vodka! Carver was actually an alcoholic for years and was hospitalised three times for it, before he finally quit drinking for good with the help of the AA in the late 1970s. Thank goodness for that, as he produced some of his best work after that, thus putting to bed the myth that it's the demon drink that fuels talent.
Raymond Chandler - Gimlet
I had to look up the ingredients of this cocktail, which appeared to be simply gin, lime juice and soda water. Still, hardboiled crime writer Chandler managed to complete the script for The Blue Dahlia while drunk, a questionably admirable feat. He remained a drunk for most of his life, poor lost soul - and actually suffered from clinical depression as well, no doubt helped along by his love of the booze. What is it with the Raymonds? Here's today's lesson, kiddies: don't name your son Raymond!
Oscar Wilde - Absinthe
"After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world." Wilde is infinitely quotable, and one has to wonder if it isn't partly because of his little habit for la fee verte, or the green fairy - a nickname for absinthe. Van Gogh and Picasso are also known to have been frequent imbibers of absinthe, which can run to as high as 75 per cent alcohol content. It's just begging to be lit up!
Anne Sexton - Dry Martini
American confessional poet Sexton apparently always travelled with a thermos full of martinis. In fact, she was quite the lush and used to be great friends with Sylvia Plath. The two would run off and drink martinis together at the Ritz Carlton. There are also some great lines about martinis in her poems, such as "I stir my martinis with the screw, four-inch and stainless steel, and think of my hip where it lay for four years like darkness." Wheee, alcoholism!
Ernest Hemingway - Mojito
Such was Hemingway's love for this (in my humble opinion) frankly quite girly cocktail that there is a watering hole in Havana called La Bodeguita del Media (the little shop in the middle), that is a must-stop for tourists on the Hemingway literary trail. Hemingway, of course, was a big lush, and is also known for being fond of absinthe, daiquiris, martinis and the specially named Papa Doble - a double-sized daiquiri. He also used to go on "alcoholic sprees" with James Joyce. Man, what you wouldn't give for a night out on the town with those two!
Tennessee Williams - The Ramos Gin Fizz
At last! Something other than margaritas and martinis and other normal boring cocktails. Apparently the Ramos Gin Fizz is "a delicately floral-scented cocktail with a smooth creamy finish and the heady kick of gin". I don't know about you, but this sounds like the perfect tipple for summer. Williams was sadly also an alcoholic, most likely because of the stress he endured in his personal life with his schizophrenic sister Rose and unhappy love affairs - one lover left him for a woman and another was prone to alcoholic rages.
Why do you think so many authors are drunkards? Who are some of your favourite authors and what do they drink?