Ernie, writing drunk, and dust. Lots and lots of dust.

Perhaps you recall my “write drunk/edit sober” experiment. Well, it’s been conducted and concluded and it’s left me feeling as follows….

It doesn’t work. I poured myself half a glass of wine in an effort to start this little experiment, drank it, and immediately couldn’t spell. On top of that, my forehead started throbbing and the six-lane freeway that runs across it felt fat and congested with traffic backed up for miles into what used to be my brain.

Ernest Hemingway could work like this? I should’ve looked into what the hell he drank before he started writing The Old Man and the Sea or whatever because it cannot have been wine. Sipping vino while trying to make sense-o is crazy pants.

But hey, I said I’d give a shot and give it a shot I did.

I looked back at my non-wine impacted notes to remind myself where I’d left off. Oh, that’s right, I was trying to write about what it was like to clean out Stu’s closet after he died.

I was getting nowhere with it.


But, thanks to two big gulps of my J Lohr Chardonnay I can tell you exactly what it was like – it sucked. It was one of the hardest, most painful, most heartbreaking things I’ve ever had to do. Every item of clothing was covered in tall, fat layers of dust. You know how you can blow dust off a table or a picture frame? Nothing doing. I picked that shit off. And the more I picked the angrier I got.

To be clear, his closet held his dressier stuff. Nice pants, nice shirts, sweater, dress shoes, you know what I mean. From the moment he got sick in July of 2009 until the moment he died 22 months later, he wore none of it. Thanks to the blazing ineptitude of his original healthcare team, he lost sixty pounds between July and September. By the time I got him to real doctors and a real diagnosis, nothing in his closet fit. He never opened it again, and neither did I.

Cleaning it out was awful. I opened the doors and the dust flew at me like kids fleeing school for summer break. It stung my eyes and stuck to my face which, now that I think of it, made me happy in a sort of “take that, you bastard!” way. I mean, ha ha on you dust kiddies, you’re stuck to my tears and clearly not joining your little dust pals at the pool or beach or wherever dust particles prefer to vacation.

I know. I’m nuts. For drinking wine and trying to write, or maybe just for trying to write about the whole hideous endeavor sober.

Two half glasses of wine and I was done. I have no idea what or how much old Ernie was drinking, but I’m out. This little experiment is over. I shall continue to write ever soooooo sloooooowly, but ever so soberly!


Susan xo

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Write drunk. Edit sober.

"Write drunk. Edit sober." Ernest Hemingway
Great quote, but did he really say it?

Write drunk, edit sober. Supposedly Ernest Hemingway said those words. Thanks to the Internet and Google, one can find all manner of quotes attributed to all manner of folks these days. Confirming that the quote and the attribution are correct, however, is another matter entirely. Being the detail-free, research-averse girl I am, frankly, I don’t care. I like this quote and have been thinking about it a lot. Particularly since I’m having a really tough time with this thing I’m working on. I wouldn’t call it a book exactly. It’s more like an attempt at a book. An attempt at a book I promised myself I’d attempt to write if I’d be completely honest.

It’s the being completely honest that has me thinking about writing drunk. Maybe it would make pulling the truth from my memory and putting it on the page less painful.

Now please don’t think that I’m dishonest. It’s more that I prefer people to think my life has a laugh track. Hell, I prefer thinking my life has a laugh track. So I create one. (See? I’m honest!) But this thing I’m working on, well I wouldn’t even consider opening a new Word document until make-everyone-laugh Suzy and more-life-under-her-belt Suzy had a little come to Jesus meeting at which, you should know, Jesus showed up which was awesome of Him considering His schedule, and the three of us agreed that make-everyone-laugh Suzy could participate – just not at the expense of more-life-under-her-belt Suzy.

What we didn’t discuss was what to do when the going got tough and my comedic crutch appeared on my shoulder like a devil dressed as Tina Fey whispering, Lean on me, Suzy, because that sentence? Sucks. I tell myself Be strong! Don’t listen! But it’s so difficult to disappoint fake Tina Fey.

Which brings me back to the business of writing drunk. It might help but it might also get me fired.

My writing time is between 4am and 6am, after which it’s on to my work day. You know, the thing that pays the bills and keeps my sons in the style to which they’ve become accustomed.

Casey (right) in Manchester, England for the Man U vs Liverpool match for his 25th birthday.
Cuy (second from left) on the beach in New Zealand where he played rugby for six months. I didn’t finance either boys’ trip in full, but I paid for a whole lot and I’ve got the Visa bill to prove it.

I can’t imagine pouring a glass of my beloved J Lohr at four in the morning, getting potted in the pursuit of honest prose, and then trying to do my job. Negative, Ghost Rider.

I also can’t imagine sitting down with a well-deserved glass of wine at the end of the work day with the intention of “over serving” myself for any reason. If I’m going to suddenly decide that the table on my deck can withstand my dancing on it, I want it to be just that, a sudden (and admittedly stupid) decision made because I unintentionally succumbed to the lure of the Lohr.

So where does this leave me? After re-reading this post and thinking and over thinking my conundrum, it leaves me contemplating a modified version of Ernie’s supposed statement.

One evening after work I shall pour myself a glass of wine and rather than opening a book (oh how I love to sip and read, read and sip!), I will open my laptop and my attempt at a book and see what happens. My gut says if I write anything at all, it will be complete garbage. Which, now that I think of it, brings me to the second part of Ernie’s supposed statement, “edit sober” and something author Nora Roberts (supposedly) said:

Hell, if one glass of wine nets me just one bad sentence to fix at four in the morning, I’ll take it.

Ernest? Nora? You’re on.

Friends, get ready. We’re embarking on Suzy’s First Science Experiment and, since Suzy failed science several times, there’s a boat load of irrefutable proof that nothing good can come of this.

God, it’s gonna be great.

Stay tuned,


P.S. For a look at how Suzy’s First YouTube Experiment is going, click the link and suffer, I mean subscribe!






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