Among the canon of misquotes, “Write drunk, edit sober” is something of a masterpiece.
Most often attributed to daiquiri namesake Ernest Hemingway, the louche imperative is actually a corruption of a fairly instructive Peter De Vries remark. While it may not be responsible for any Nobels, the advice has resonated with aspiring writers, in part because of alcohol’s tendency to grease the confessional gears.
With that in mind, Miami Book Fair is teaming up this Thursday with the fashionable Langford Hotel for First Draft, a guided writing session with a twist (or, perhaps, an olive garnish). Guests will be welcome to two complimentary drinks while responding to prompts from author and Florida International University professor Julie Marie Wade, and the theme of the evening should appeal to the fashion set.
“I’m interested in writing that talks about trends and patterns and things that are all the rage,” Wade says, invoking the night’s descriptive title.
She says the group will begin the evening by “playing with the lighter meaning of the phrase and then maybe going a little bit deeper and thinking about how we write out of things that enrage us.”
A fashionable evening that ends in fury? Sounds like a typical night of drinking in Miami. And like any night on the town, Wade says, the point of the free-write will be to see where it takes you. “This is partly just kind of a fun, literary hangout, but it’s also hopefully a way that people will [start] a bunch of different things that they want to work on.”
Attendees who wish to share their fashion tips or air their grievances will have a chance to read their work if they choose.
Like so many writerly happenings in Miami, First Draft got its start at Books & Books, the independent bookstore that’s been a de facto community center for the city's literary-minded residents since its founding in 1982. This will be the literary social’s first time at the Langford, the 126-room Beaux Arts-inspired hotel that opened last fall in the historically designated Miami National Bank building constructed in 1925.
Wade, whose book Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures garnered her a 2011 Lambda Literary Award, most recently published Catechism: A Love Story, a collection of lyric essays organized around the seven Catholic sacraments.
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“I’m trained as a poet officially, [but] there was always that part of me that loved to straddle the fence between poetry and prose,” she says of the lyrical essays. “More recently, I’ve been trying to get myself to tackle more traditional narrative structures for autobiographical writing, and those have turned out to be very fun, but not as intuitive as writing more empirical, recursive work.”
In addition to the guided exercises (and the booze), readers will be treated to selected readings on the theme topic. “If people are stuck at all,” Wade says, “I always think, Well, if you’re just immersed in hearing words out loud, it will be good for writing.”
And who knows? Maybe you’ll wake up Friday morning with the first few pages of a novel in your pocket. It beats the usual book of matches and broken iPhone.
First Draft: A Literary Social
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 21, at the Langford Hotel. Admission is free. Visit miamibookfair.com.