It seems that each day we are faced with new questions and allegations about performance enhancing drugs in the world of sports. I don’t think it is unusual for someone in the public spotlight – or attempting to gain the public spotlight – to seek an unfair advantage, but I do think that it tarnishes something that others have worked so hard to do: achieve greatness simply on the merit of hard work.
As a fan of sports, I want to see the most incredible plays as often as possible, and so this, at times, leaves me a bit torn. I loved the homerun chase between Sosa and McGwire, and watching Bonds crush Ruth’s record was pretty damn incredible. But at the same time, I don’t believe that they accomplished it on their own, and therefore, I don’t believe they deserve the accolades of those feats. However, I enjoyed watching it all, and it definitely added excitement to the game. But it was fictional – sort of like the WWF, great story lines, but they are all fabricated for entertainment value, and higher ratings.
So, what are the steroids of writing? If Burroughs had never been a junky, would his writing have been so strong? If Hemingway hadn’t been drunk all the time, would he have written Old Man and the Sea? Would Poe have been so well versed if it had not been for opiates and booze? If we took all the substances away from the great writers, would they still be great writers? I mean, sure there are great authors who do not use substances at all, but does that mean that only substances are kin to steroids? Maybe the love of a man or woman, or the unrequited love of a man or woman is their substance?
So, that leads me to the Question of the Day:
What are the steroids of the writing world, and does it really matter to you?