HESTER Lacey, in her fascinating article on modern drug writing ("It's not big and it's not clever", 8 March), misquotes me as saying that Kerouac "wrote when he was stone cold sober". He wasn't that systematic, but usually didn't get drunk until after the stint. His growing recourse to Benzedrine to replace a failing inspiration was not very successful. There was something inviolate, even prissy, about his personality which was antipathetic to the dissolving powers of psychedelic drugs (rather like William Burroughs who only ever had one acid trip). Kerouac died the classic alcoholic's death, from cirrhosis of the liver, at 47.