Tag Archive: Alcoholic beverage

Jul 02

Writing Under the Influence – Revisited

WHAT’S PLAYING: Ann Savoy “C’est Si Triste”

I was having trouble with the opening scene of my novel in which my protagonist is inebriated. I knew what I wanted to say, but couldn’t figure out how to describe the world from her less than reliable point of view.

I have a good deal of experience with being under the influence, what with my enduring fondness for all things tequila. So, I figured writing about it would be easy.

Not so much.


You see, though I still enjoy the occasional cocktail, I usually tap out after two drinks because I am one of the most obnoxious drunks you’ll ever meet. I don’t get belligerent, depressed, or overly affectionate, but something much, much worse.

I get creative.

Crazy ideas pop into my head and I hop around like a coked out bunny rabbit, trying to get everyone to join in on the insanity. Fortunately, my friends discovered the best—and only—way to distract me is to keep plying me with alcohol until I pass out.


The last time I got drunk at a party, the night went something like this:


ME: Hey, why don’t we all go out and get tattoos?

THEM: Great idea, Jacqui. Why don’t you have another drink before we go?

ME: Okay. (Five minutes later…) Hey! You know what we should do? We should go rock climbing!

THEM: It’s midnight and you’re afraid of heights.

ME: I am?

THEM: *sigh* Here, have another margarita.

ME: Okey Dokey. (Three minutes later…) Hey! I got an idea! Let’s all go off the grid! The girls can wear gingham cotton and the guys can wear assless chaps!

THEM: *stare* Okay. You should definitely have another drink. Now.

ME: Roger that. (One minute later…) Hey! We should all…zzzzzz.

(By the way, if you’re laughing at this, it’s only because you haven’t had to put up with it yet.)


Anyway, back to the character, I tried several tactics to describe the world from her inebriated point of view. Then, I thought about how I view the world through tequila-tinted glasses. I always feel perfectly fine, but nothing is where it’s supposed to be. Walls move around. Stairs and door handles suddenly require a PHD to operate. And the ground seems to shuck and jive beneath my feet. In other words, the world is off-balance, not me. Invigorated by this new information, I went back and rewrote the passage, and you know what?

It works.

And mom said I’d never learn anything from the bottom of a bottle.

Your turn. How do you deal with sobriety-challenged people/characters in your life?


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Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/07/writing-under-the-influence-revisited/