Monday, January 14, 2019

New Year’s Resolutions & the Gimlet

You’re probably wondering right now what the heck a gimlet is? Well, if you’ve been reading lots of old noir detective novels, you probably already know. I read enough Chandler books to take his advice literally and found this old time drink needs to come back. Plymouth gin, rose’s lime juice, a touch of lime, and into the cocktail shaker it goes. What comes out is pure-tasting noir in a glass.

How does this relate to New Years? Well, there are a few things I wanted to tackle this year. Running a half marathon or marathon (I’m prepping by doing Bay to Breakers first this year). I also wanted to get better at exploring the wide world of drinks and authors. Yes, you heard that right. A lot of authors actually lace their novels with info about their favorite drinks. Hemingway made “Death in the Afternoon” - which tastes great, but is basically a bad hangover waiting to happen. For the gimlet, I have Chandler to thank. But there’s much more, and I intend to slowly explore more cocktail options via the writers of the past as I read more of their work this year.

So, other than marathons and drink mixing, what are some of your goals for the new year?


Monday, January 7, 2019

Doubt in Writing

As I continue to read about many of my favorite authors, I’m intrigued by the continual battles with doubt they each wrestled with during their entire lives. A few that come to mind include Herman Melville, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Mikhail Bulgakov just to name a few. Each of them, whether “successful” or not, nursed deep doubts regarding their writing abilities and many died with some of their most famous work unrecognized within their lifetimes.

Melville of course penned Moby Dick, one of my all time favorite novels. The book sold few copies and was out of print by the time Melville died. Both Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, despite the success of their noir novels, feared that their work was only considered pulp and anguished over every sequel they ever wrote. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was written off as a nostalgic period piece, and even fellow authors thought the book showed that he had lost his ability to write. As for Bulgakov, he never thought The Master and Margarita would ever see the light of day, the manuscript having been suppressed by Soviet authorities until well after his death.

To me, it is very human to doubt, and I find it very inspiring that many authors not only struggled with doubts, but used it to fuel their writing careers. They turned a very natural disadvantage into the grist for their mill, infusing their own characters with doubts that make them very human and relatable. So how do you deal with doubts in your daily life?