Writing under the influence

Truman Capote, ironically, said he was agin’ it and that it stunted creativity. I have written while baked, many times. And I got a few good things out of it here and there. A bunch of bizarre question marks, too. In days gone by, I… uh… partook… much more than I do now. I still sometimes find poems and lines from those days and they feel as though they were written by someone else. But so does my younger work. And so does anything I don’t really like. So, in the end, it didn’t so much stunt by writing as change it, for better or worse. What it did stunt, likely, was the last 10 years of my life. But we’ll save that talk for the funeral.

Capote’s final years were spent in and out of rehab clinics, as the author fought a losing battle with drugs and alcohol. He died in August, 1984, just a month shy of his 60th birthday. According to the coroner’s report, the cause of death was “liver disease complicated by phlebitis and multiple drug intoxication.”

Sixteen years previous, at the height of his fame, Capote gave the below interview, in which he talked breezily about drugs and alcohol, and their ruinous effects on the creativity of the artist. It’s kind of a tough watch now, given our knowledge of the toll substance abuse took on his own once-glittering career, but an interesting one all the same.

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