The Bottle and the Pen


By Cameron Bennett (He/Him)

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Image by Prawny


Addict, from the Latin addict. To yield, to abandon, but crucially, to religiously devote. To drink, for me, is to be compelled. That feeling of unmistakable relief allows me to escape from a reality to which I am too dedicated. The product of this devotion is text, creative in nature, but destructive in method. I am not unique in this method. Hemingway, Thompson, and Joyce all knew that to escape into a reality of one’s own and write about it is to create art. So, earnestly, I drink on with my reader, like the bottle, the sole witness to my process.

With peppered knuckles I begin my process, lifting my arm like a revolution- ary at the barricades, allowing the smooth spirit to flow down the bottleneck and begin to fuel the evening. As I submerge, little changes, although the familiar tightness grows between my shoulders. Whilst sinking, the light fades, my existence becoming shaped by not what is seen, but rather what is imagined. The only certainty I face is that I will, at some point, reach the bottom. The tightness grows. Now my feet have touched the bedrock, I enter a novel space, my feet grounded in certainty, but my eyes viewing only fig- ments.

On this precipice, I can work. Creeping between reality and farce, exploring the gaps between the people. From this point, I begin. Present, past, and future coexist on the same plane. All happening at once, no precedent, no anticipation. Memory floods my being. I begin to write. Words on paper. Dissociated from meaning. I begin to stall, I reach for my glass, slumping across the desk, I reach for the bottle. The flow resumes. Memory now domi- nates my hand, a glazed view of the past. A village. My school. The sounds of squeaking shoes. The scent of damp grass after a downpour. The tightness returns, I feel myself losing my feet on the bedrock. I float quickly up to the surface, losing my devotion, my method fading. Coming up too soon now, my breath quickens, my hand is still, the tension grows. I feel my stomach contorting, as if I have the bends. I begin to see the light. Light seizes my senses, but my eyes are still closed. I fall into a familiar drunken slumber.

Sleep has become my only sanctuary as my methods grow more orthodox, for sleep does not demand a reality; it grows one itself. It is the product of this growth that my method, and all other writers’ methods, seek to emulate. The unbounded creativity of the silent mind. It is at this moment that I can delude myself that this process is for the enjoyment of others, and not to satisfy myself.

As I rise, I am swiftly reminded of the toll my faith takes on me. But in front of me, I see the fruits of my prayers. Writing allows the reader to save them- selves from the trappings of their reality, transporting them to another. In a sense, there is an unspoken agreement between he who pens and he who reads. This transportation must be above all else, convincing. Like a deep sea diver, an author must bring up his treasures, or his dive has been in vain. My devotion is a corrosive guarantee of this transport, a promise of passage upon Charon’s ferry, to another place. But this is the fatal paradox of my method; the creator of a world can only ever see its imperfections, and thus I can only escape briefly through the green glasses. Last night I dreamt I was a person. I woke up and remembered I was a diver for those who will never need to swim. This is my process; this is my faith.