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On being drunk in Shoreditch at 2am

When you walk into one of East London's finest (read: dive-iest) watering holes at 8.30pm and there are people already dancing on the bar, you can guess how your night is going to go, especially if you yourself have some experience with dancing atop bars in such establishments. But, these days, you know you should know better, should only have the two drinks, should try to be home by midnight at the very latest because your twenties are weeelllll behind you (and should most definitely stay there) and YOU HAVE TO GET UP AND WRITE THE NEXT DAY!!

Shoreditch - where anything/everything grinds

These thoughts can clamour to be heard all they want but when 90s R&B is playing even louder, well, you know who's going to win.

90s R&B. Every.Time.

And before you know it, you've joined the sweaty, pulsing herd that have come to Shoreditch for a big, drunken night out and all thoughts of being a studious, productive soon-to-be-best-selling author completely evaporate.

Every single writer will agree that writing time is precious, even when you have it in abundance, but especially when you don't. For my first six months of living in the UK, I was in that first, blessed, situation. Now, I'm dowing in the latter. Having a job, and living London, does that. And so it's especially infuriating when I sacrifice even an hour of my spare time to the waste that is the hangover. Not only does such a state mean a day of doing little else than binge watching First Dates/Antiques Road Trip/TOWIE/Sherlock, but the self-loathing also takes up quite a bit of time.

To constantly be caught in the crosshairs of distraction - such is the writer's lot. And I'm loathed to admit that of late, the struggle to fight back has been a battle I am losing. Apart from giving up my writing time by returning to the work force, I'm also about to farewell my sister who, all too soon, is heading back to the land of Oz. How can I pass up an opportunity to dine out, get drunk, or indulge in the many, many activities the city has to offer, to sit in the library and struggle through another one thousand words that will be waiting for me after she leaves?

But maybe, after all, distraction can be...a good thing?

What if being drunk in Shoreditch in the early hours isn't distraction but, rather, juicy material and colour for that chapter I'm stumbling through? Like the group of girls that were standing in line ahead of me one night, one of whom was in tears as she tried to relate her sorrows to her friend but the quantity of alcohol she'd ingested made her far less eloquent than she'd hoped (so much so that the bouncer would only allow them entry if they promised not to drink anything else. A promise quickly made, and broken). Or how about the old gentleman who tripped over the curb only to be helped to his feet by the homeless man sitting on the freezing cold pavement? Oh, and that couple in the corner at a jazz bar, a bit older than everyone else, making out as if they weren't. And what if the heartache I'm going through as I prepare to farewell my sister will come in handy for that torturous, broken love scene I'll eventually have to pen?

Distraction in life can be colour on the page. I know it will give depth to my prose, to my characters and will let my (eventual) readers know that I've been amongst it, out there in the real world.

So, distraction? Blessing. Curse. Inevitable. Unavoidable. Necessary.

(NB: this blog post has been written to justify the fact I've been drunk and/or hungover for most of the last month.)


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