February 8, 2016

Do We Need Wine or Peace?

James Cridland/Flickr

I don’t know how it began, this ritual I called Wine & Peace.

After six o’clock, I’d sit down to write or draw—my head flooded with ideas, my heart filled with excitement and my body longing for peace. I poured a glass of wine, picked up my laptop and sat at my desk.

I breathed a sigh of relief. That time of day when I could officially make the noise stop and enter the creative recesses of my mind had begun.

I sank into my chair, diving into the divine yumminess in my glass as I detached from my surroundings. The outside world did not matter so much—this was my time. It was my time to create and dig deeper, but as I reached the last few drops of wine, that excitement in my heart fell flat. I still felt that dreaminess, but I lost my enthusiasm and everything I thought I would accomplish suddenly didn’t seem that great.

There is a sort of romantic, glamorous notion that artists and creative types sit with a glass of wine, as they ponder deeply philosophical issues. It gets the creative juices flowing, but when used as a distraction or a mood alterer, it is time to examine the reason we turn to wine.

After a hard day do we really need a glass of wine or simply peace?

I started to examine these moments as I sipped the last few drops, and my heart sank. Yes, I was relaxed, but I was not at peace. A moment of uninhibited creation was what I sought, but I ended up with a dreamy state of buzzed. Wine lowered my inhibitions so I did not face the flurry of start, stop, tear up, erase that I did when I tried to create during the day.

With wine, my ideas flowed magically onto the page, but by the end of the glass, I had lost my enthusiasm.

I began to feel guilty and lazy for cutting my evening creative sessions short, but all I wanted to do after a glass of wine was sleep. I was in a bit of a conundrum, to say the least. Not only was it the name of my favorite wine, but drinking it left me at a crossroad—do I choose wine or peace?

What was it that I really wanted in the evening? Clearly something was missing in my life. There was a reason I was craving this time to escape, but I didn’t know how to enter the creative zone without a glass of wine. It became a way to reward myself for sitting down in the evening to create. I wasn’t addicted, rather I was tired of seeking perfection as I created. I just wanted to let it all go, and wine was the one thing that let me release everything that held me back during the day.

Rather than facing my frustration straight on, I was avoiding it with wine. During the day, when I reached a halting point in my creative flow, I tore up what I started writing and walked away. I could not face that sense of being stuck, not knowing what to do. Yet I was growing disgusted with myself for not accomplishing more.

I had to make a choice—wine or peace?

Six o’clock approached the next day and I chose to sit with the frustration, struggling with my need for perfection. I wanted to see how it felt. I was full of ideas, so full that I had to get them out all at once, fearing I would forget one.

This dizzying flurry of creativity overcame me. And I knew in that moment, I would never get this all done. There was no way I could finish this project tonight. I felt a sense of panic and utter doom. In my state of desperation, for I had resolved not to have a glass of wine to end this overwhelmed feeling, I wrote down a list of steps that needed to be done. It didn’t matter how they came out, there was no need for order. I just wanted to get them down before I lost my train of thought.

After I wrote down every single last idea, I finally chose peace. I shut my eyes and fell asleep, knowing that what I needed was a nap, for months or perhaps even years. I had been fighting sleep with a glass of wine.

When I woke from my slumber, I felt refreshed. The frustration I had felt an hour ago was gone. After a bite to eat, I was ready to sit down and tackle the list of things I dreamed of creating.

For once I was truly at peace.


Author: Jane CoCo Cowles

Editor: Nicole Cameron

Image: James Cridland/Flickr

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