Poets & Writers: "Neal Thompson Recommends..."


(Originally appeared at https://www.pw.org/writers_recommend/neal_thompson)


“When I feel stuck or stupid, afraid or inferior, to shake loose some words I turn to three things: 1. Paul Westerberg—solo, or with The Replacements. 2. Invisibility—more on that later. 3. Bourbon—two fingers, two cubes. I don’t admit to number three without some shame. It’s not a trait or a crutch I’m necessarily proud of, which is something I explore in my new book, Kickflip Boys. Over the years, I’ve asked other writers where booze fits in their writing life. Some won’t take a sip until they’re done for the day. Others will drink while editing, not writing. Some, like me, find it a reliable tool that, used sparingly, can help fill a blank screen with five hundred words in an hour. But when I really, really need to get rolling, I love to disappear. And the best way to do that is Amtrak. From Seattle to Portland and back, I can write for eight uninterrupted hours. I sit with a glass of bourbon beside me and The Replacements’s album Tim in my headphones. I’m not great at math, but for me: 1 + 2 + 3 equals the best writing day a hundred bucks can buy.”
—Neal Thompson, author of Kickflip Boys: A Memoir of Freedom, Rebellion, and the Chaos of Fatherhood (Ecco, 2018)

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