Sitting alone in his home, draped in darkness, save for the gentle blue glow of his computer monitor, he sips his drink. He neither asked for company nor would accept any, for he is working on his craft. Tonight is for imbibing in his favorite drink and going deep into the labyrinth of his mind and put to words the events, people, and philosophies that occupy it. He is unable to fully think of such things in a sober state, so he turns to his glorious alcoholic vice.
His drink of choice varies, whether it be the sweet and rough kisses of Lady Liquor or the obvious teases and delayed gratifications of the tramp Beer. Tonight, he decides, he’ll tango with the tramp. He hopes her little flirtations will ignite something deep within him and just maybe, he will write something destined for greatness.
He’s typing away, struggling to manifest his thoughts. A clever sentence here, a snarky remark there, a too worthy sentence that is executed the moment it’s completed. It’s a messy little dance. He grows excited when the words pour out and frustrated when they stagnate. As he takes another swig and walks around his home in anxiousness, he wonders if anymore words will come to him. Or is he finished? Is he through? Is he just a fucking drunk pretending to be a writer?
The thought of being a nobody infuriates him. His mind is bursting with idea’s. He has stories, jokes, and social commentary to disperse. Yet, it feels like every word typed is an inch by inch uphill battle. Then a revelation, recalling Al Pacino’s half-time speech from Any Given Sunday:
You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing!
Writing, he thinks, is the same way. It’s fighting for that inch, for that word, for that sentence. Digging deep, fighting self-doubt, word by word. Tearing cynicism to pieces, sentence by sentence. A word placed wrong, you don’t quite communicate it. A sentence structured incorrectly, you don’t quite express it. A writer must be willing to pour all he has, tooth and nail, for those words and sentences. Because he knows that when he adds up all those hard fought for words and sentences it’s the fucking difference between greatness and obscurity.
He smiles as he realizes that the struggle is part of the craft. It’s not supposed to be easy and it’s not supposed to be fast. Its about perseverance, worth ethic, inches, and exhausting yourself for your dream. “Now quit your bitching,” he says out loud, “Get back to work and fight for that inch.”
I wrote the following in May 2007 while in my barracks room, lonely and drunk. It inspired the first part of Inch by Inch. Though I’m kind of embarrassed of it right now, it shows my evolution as a writer. I’m leaving it unedited, but I think it’s not too bad for a drunk, dumbass 20 year old.
On Drinking Alone
Very few things show that a man has arrived to maturity than the act of drinking alone. The act of facing whatever hidden demons the lack of alcohol has hidden from him. A man who drinks alone, is a brave man. He does something that many would consider to do only in comfortable presence of loved ones and acquaintance. Since so many people fear to lurk into those dark places of their minds without some companionship.
The Lone Drinker is often considered to be disturbed, an alcoholic, and as the name implies… a loner. No, the Lone Drinker is the enlightened man who knows how to enjoy the sweet and rough kisses of lady Liquor and the obvious teases and delayed gratifications of the tramp Beer. The Lone Drinker doesn’t need the reassurance of others to enjoy what is truly fine in life. He doesn’t drink because he wants to impress others, he drinks for the pure love of alcohol. He finishes off more drinks than drinks have finished off him.
He is very misunderstood. He not as well respected as he should be. Some might pity him. But, those who do, don’t have the balls to be like him. Because inside of them, there is a fear that they are not strong enough. Or the thought that they are better than that. Maybe they think that are too good to drink alone. So, they must seek that party that allows them the chance to drink. So let me ask… who is more powerful… the uncertain people who only drink when it’s appropriate or the lone drinker? The man who controls when he drinks, how much he drinks, and whether or not he has other make the choice for him.