Despite the fact that perfectly legal drinks like coffee and whiskey can stimulate and inspire, some writers have historically turned to harder substances to get the creative juices flowing. While these illicit substances make said juices flow like the Amazon during a monsoon, they also can cause some pretty extreme side effects—like, uh, death.
And while we're never ones to advocate drug use (unless those drugs turn you into a genius), it'd be silly to ignore the fact that some of the world's greatest authors needed moon-rocks, junk, mud, and booger sugar to jumpstart their day. So that said, let's get weird.
1. Edgar Allan Poe
“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge."
2. Jean Cocteau
“The smell of opium is the least stupid smell in the world.”
3. Chuck Palahniuk, Survivor
“It's only in drugs or death we'll see anything new, and death is just too controlling."
4. William S. Burroughs, Junky
“Junk turns the user into a plant. Plants do not feel pain since pain has no function in a stationary organism. Junk is a pain killer. A plant has no libido in the human or animal sense. Junk replaces the sex drive. Seeding is the sex of the plant and the function of opium is to delay seeding. Perhaps the intense discomfort of withdrawal is the transition from plant back to animal, from a painless, sexless, timeless state back to sex and pain and time, from death back to life.”
5. Hunter S. Thompson
“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
6. David Sedaris
“After a few months in my parents' basement, I took an apartment near the state university, where I discovered both crystal methamphetamine and conceptual art. Either one of these things are dangerous, but in combination they have the potential to destroy entire civilizations. ”
7. Charles Bukowski
“I think that everything should be made available to everybody, and I mean LSD, cocaine, codeine, grass, opium, the works. Nothing on earth available to any man should be confiscated and made unlawful by other men in more seemingly powerful and advantageous positions.”
8. Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard
“Here is the solution to the American drug problem suggested a couple years back by the wife of our President: 'Just say no.'"
9. Aldous Huxley
"If we could sniff or swallow something that would, for five or six hours each day, abolish our solitude as individuals, atone us with our fellows in a glowing exaltation of affection and make life in all its aspects seem not only worth living, but divinely beautiful and significant, and if this heavenly, world-transfiguring drug were of such a kind that we could wake up next morning with a clear head and an undamaged constitution—then, it seems to me, all our problems (and not merely the one small problem of discovering a novel pleasure) would be wholly solved and earth would become paradise."
10. Allen Ginsberg
"Nobody saves America by sniffing cocaine. Jiggling your knees blankly in the rain, when it snows in your nose, you catch cold in your brain."
11. Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City
“The intercom buzzes while you're changing your shirt. You push the Talk button: 'Who is it?' 'Narcotics squad. We're soliciting donations for children all over the world who have no drugs.'"