Smoking and Writing

I am addicted to writing; this is called hypergraphia. Learned this word and idea from some writer friends who were talking about “the Marquis de Sade, not my cup of tea.” My little joke here is to say, “Is this not how everyone says this name?” No one admires him. Anyway, I was shocked by this discovery during a discussion of a film called Quill — what a great title! But my friends advise me against seeing it; I am grateful for their guidance.   I’m traumatized just to learn there’s a medical name for the compulsions I have for writing. To share this addiction with old “NotMyCupofTea” himself is quite un-nerving.

Given my ability to form habits, some rather nasty, (we like to label those ones “addictions,” whereas others, like tithing, gardening, and kale are released from that diagnostic tag) I really ought not be surprised to add another “addiction” to my list of compulsive activities. Mostly, writing is an absolute joy, an exercise, a discipline, my calling, my craft, my life. My journaling is definitely on the habitual side; my diaries carry my writing practice, confirm my identity.

Addictions and obsessions.   I’m prone to obsession; I think that’s a writing brain thing. I dwell on things; I arrange, compose, and rearrange words like breathing. Once an idea gets in there, I can’t stop thinking about those stupid, wonderful, or confusing thoughts, mind spinning, driving me crazy, until I write the whole damn thing down, until every last drop has been drained from my word-obsessed mind. Sometimes, like right now, writing about things helps me to think them out. I enjoy this experience; it’s an endorphin rush, my writer’s high.

Lately, I am puzzling (mostly in my much-needed journals) about the habituating qualities of marijuana, and why do it, or not? Costs, benefits, etc. I don’t thinking smoking pot has much bad effect on my life. None of my character defects went away during my thirty years of being straight. I will be naturally disorganized, lazy, anti-social, and untidy, whether I’m high or not. Or so I believe. I have nothing much bad to say about marijuana. It’s relaxing.

But, the rest of the story, which I keep telling myself and anyone who cares, is this: I can write obsessively (thus living a flakey solitary messy life), or I can smoke weed (also obsessively, same basic results in real life), but I can’t really smoke and write.

Well, actually, I can smoke AND write. But it’s much harder to write stoned — words run badly wilder, ideas tumble lost, break hurt, floating hoarded papers oranged with uneditable ink markings <<example> sentence<!?! Some gems sometimes, but it’s dirty work digging them out. Meanwhile, the exquisite white hot work of writing (building the stories, inhabiting the characters, choreographing complicated scenes, sentence editing!) doesn’t happen in the smoke. So, I must choose. Almost always, writing wins. It’s cheaper, cleaner, much less hassle. And, oh yes, I admit it, I’m a hypergraph-aholic, happily hooked.


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