“Don’t you drink? I notice you speak slightingly of the bottle.
I have drunk since I was fifteen and few things have given me more pleasure.
When you work hard all day with your head and know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky?
When you are cold and wet what else can warm you?
Before an attack who can say anything that gives you the momentary well-being that rum does?…
The only time it isn’t good for you is when you write or when you fight. You have to do that cold.
But it always helps my shooting.
Modern life, too, is often a mechanical oppression and liquor is the only mechanical relief.”
– In a letter to critic, poet and translator Ivan Kashkin (19 August 1935).