Thursday, February 9, 2012

On Absinthe and Crazy Artists

Did you know that Van Gogh was downing Absinthe the night he cut off his ear? I gleaned this little tidbit from the bartender who prepared a glass of thr stuff for me father. Yes, I drink with my father. Which is quite amusing, especially to the waitress who was assigned to us last night.

We got together for a late night snack and beer...that turned into an Absinthe test drive. The whole preparation is fascinating, actually. You put a strainer over the glass and place a sugar cube on top. The Absinthe is poured over the sugar cube and set on fire (awe-some) before adding ice water because you don't want to ingest the full throttle version of this stuff. In fact, as I related this story to my mother she said, "You probably just aged your liver by five years." Oops.

A little history on this stuff--the original version contained wormwood, which is a hallucinogen. That is illegal in the States, of course. But not in Germany or Amsterdam as the bartender informed us. Even so, at 120 proof, the American version still packs a kick. I was totally seeing how Van Gogh could cut off his ear because after two sips, I couldn't feel my face. Needless to say, the two ounces I ingested was a pretty nifty nightcap. I slept pretty hard this morning and when the alarm went off...I was not a happy camper!
In any case, I think this brush with the alcohol of choice for so many of the great writers and artists of the 19th and 20th centuries (Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, etc) has churned my creative juices into a fervor. I've been editing Rebellion and hoping the mojo doesn't run out before I reach my stopping place at page 54. It has a very good premise and I'm hoping to see this one through in less than ten years this time around. Should I be ambitious and shoot for a year? How about you? Do you set deadlines for yourself? Do you find that they stifle your creativity?


  1. Very interesting information. Now, I've learned something today. No wonder I'm not a drinker. I can imagine how it must taste.

    I do set deadlines, but I'm not always on time. lol

  2. I've never tried Absinthe--I've heard it tastes like anise or licorice, which is the one flavor and scent that's gauranteed to give me a migraine!

    I set soft deadlines and concrete goals, if that makes sense--2K of writing this weekend as a concrete goal, for instance, and plan to finish this MS by April-ish as a soft deadline :) That kind of thing.

    I also drink with my dad--we enjoy Scotch and dark beer together :) He taught me to warm up my stout when camping in the cold :)