Litquake's Writers in Recovery: “All of My Artistic Heroes Were Addicts”

A group of people filed into a large room. Seven of them got up in front of the crowd and told stories about their addictions and the terrible things they did. Most of the stories were true. Deeply confessional. Brutally personal. It should have felt like an AA meeting. It didn't.

“Re Write: An Evening of Prose from Writers in Recovery” presented some of the Bay Area's best known addicts to a Litquake crowd at Delancey Street Theater that already knew their names. Bucky Sinister, Alan Kaufman, Cary Tennis … these are writers who have in one way or another made their struggles with addiction and rehabilitation central to their artistic lives.

They didn't invent the connection between art and insatiable appetites, of course. As event host and organizer Patrick Hughes noted: “Several hundred years of documented debauchery has left the indelible impression that the life of a writer requires us to be the first to arrive at every party, a witty raconteur, doused in champagne, and adept at finding the last crumb of drugs on the shag carpet.” From Samuel Johnson to Dorothy Parker to Hunter S. Thompson, “writers seem to possess an insatiable need for extremism in all forms to counter their solitary existence.”

Bucky Sinister put it another way: “All of my artistic heroes were addicts.”

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