Writing is defined as “the activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper and composing text.” The keyword here is activity, which makes anyone outside the writing profession think that writing is largely the act of, well, typing away at hellion speed on your laptop. As a professional writer, let me tell you: This is false. Writing is 60% staring into space, 20% cross-training the mind by engaging in some unrelated activity, and 20% furious writing to translate those scrambled thoughts into something coherent. Ideas can come from anywhere, folks, which is why I’m always trying new methods of stimulation… barring the whole writing-while-drunk stereotype. That’s so Hemingway.
My form of stimulation is typically some physically taxing activity in the great outdoors. However, feeling literally tired of this method, I wanted to broaden my horizons. Coincidentally, a buddy of mine approached me with a way to do just that:
He: Try Mary Jane.
Me: …Mary who? Who’s Mary?
He: I’m clearly old. Pot. I’m talking about pot.
He: shakes head
Funnily enough, I had tried vaping cannabis before as a stimulation tool for running, but never made the connection to use it for creative purposes. Knowing different strains have different benefits, I reached for two ABX cartridges I had purchased out of curiosity. Although, let’s be clear: I didn’t even know who or what Mary Jane was, so it’s safe to say my cannabis connoisseurship is still TBD.
Gorilla Glue. The name is apt for this one. It keeps you glued to the couch with the death grip of a silverback gorilla. I spent four hours that day in a haze on the couch, somewhere between lucid dreaming and vague self-awareness. This is what I remember: The salty nuts I had for a snack were saltier than before. The sliced fruit I ate was lip-smacking good. I made sweet little cooing animal noises, like a cat while it licks its fur. I binge-watched season 7 of Modern Family and laughed at all the most inappropriate jokes, then realized I was asleep for several of the episodes. I accomplished zero writing.
Candyland. My mind on Candyland couldn’t have been more opposite. Within 20 minutes or so, I felt a light fuzziness in my head that I can only describe as living out Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, only it was super bearable, an implosion of sunlight, actually. I was a living sonic boom, eyes ratcheting across the screen, fingers flying on the keyboard, my thoughts spiraling out like fusilli on a mountain of lesser pasta. I wrote six email campaigns for a client in one hour, without snack breaks or Facebook trolling. When I checked the work later, worrying that it could have all been gibberish, my genius words somehow devolving into crude drawings of my cat, I realized that everything had been approved. “Great options!” my colleague even said. “Keep it up!” Being a sensible person, I had wrapped up my major projects before this romp in Candyland, but those email headlines proved the experiment a fruitful one.
Maybe Hemingway wasn’t so off the mark, after all: “Write high; edit sober.”