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Do you agree with Bukowski? - Roy Jerden's Blog

About Roy Jerden
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You say you want a revolution?
  • Well you know, we all want to change the world

Do you agree with Bukowski?

Blog Posted:5/16/2013 8:04:00 PM

so you want to be a writer?

by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don't do it. unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don't do it. if you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter searching for words, don't do it. if you're doing it for money or fame, don't do it. if you're doing it because you want women in your bed, don't do it. if you have to sit there and rewrite it again and again, don't do it. if it's hard work just thinking about doing it, don't do it. if you're trying to write like somebody else, forget about it.   if you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait patiently. if it never does roar out of you, do something else.  if you first have to read it to your wife or your girlfriend or your boyfriend or your parents or to anybody at all, you're not ready.  don't be like so many writers, don't be like so many thousands of people who call themselves writers, don't be dull and boring and pretentious, don't be consumed with self- poems/love'>love. the libraries of the world have yawned themselves to sleep over your kind. don't add to that. don't do it. unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket, unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don't do it. unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don't do it.  when it is truly time, and if you have been chosen, it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you.  there is no other way.  and there never was.

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Date: 5/17/2013 5:53:00 AM
First, I got my backbone up. Had to go have a coffee. Think about it. Read it again. I realized I was ticked about the Don'ts... I HATE Don'ts... Don'ts annoy, are pretentious, highbrow and just SHOULD NOT BE PLACED side by side with anything in regards to art (unless the purpose of that art is to evoke hatred, hurt those undeserving ie rascism, rape, child pornography)... So I edited it in my mind... Changed it all to DO'S... like... Write when it comes bursting out of you in spite of everthing. Write when it comes unasked... and suddenly I GOT IT... Yeah, agree with a lot of this. BUT I know of poets with Down's Syndrome, Poets with Dyslexia, Poets struggling with illiteracy (bought his book) and poets who have had strokes.. and they ARE poets.. who struggle with words, who stare at the empty page, who push themselves... HE IS WRONG. Even the BEST writers in the world have come across a block, spent hours searching out that ONE perfect word...
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Aechtner Avatar
Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 5/18/2013 3:11:00 PM
(*quit -- typo. I am editing :P). Even with the negativity of Bukowski's above statement, I dig the underlying messages. The lines about the yawning libraries is very pertinent, wot with the millions of people walking around with portable 'typewriters', then calling themselves poets or wotever. Just because I might write shitty poems, this doesn't mean that I want to spend my time reading the shitty poetry of others. But hey, I am not being forced to do so. It is my choice to click on a name.
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 5/18/2013 3:04:00 PM
If I make sure not to take every word of Bukowski's message too literally, there are a lot of great points for me. Maybe not for you. And this is a-ok. Again, it isn't about Bukowski being right or wrong(right or wrong can become too subjective). He spewed and spewed; it was almost an automatic response for him. He told people to negate things he said an hour before. I totally get the mocking part of him. I also mock too much. This is something that I am attempting to reform. If one is too facetious a lot of the time, people don't know how to take it after a while.
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 5/18/2013 2:56:00 PM
Cyndi, I am fine with agreeing to disagree. That's wot I am doing. It is a difference of opinion; of perception; of life experiences. In the years just before Bukowski passed away, he quite drinking and his mannerisms in interviews really softened up. During the last year of his life, Charles almost became eloquent(as eloquent as the dirty, old man could be lol). One thing he kept reiterating over and over during this time(and before), was how people shouldn't take his words in interviews and the above example, too literally, because he was mocking poetry and even himself. If one looks at his original manuscripts(http://bukowski.net/), there is editing, chicken-scratches throughout. He could be very facetious and mocking in his statements. But there is an underlying sense to his messages if one doesn't take it all too literally. Remember, he called himself a louse, etc. He had a lot of self-hatred for many decades. And he spewed-off remarks simply to get a reaction.
MacMillan Avatar
Cyndi MacMillan
Date: 5/18/2013 6:35:00 AM
Chris, you get that I'm hardheaded and mean no slight to YOU, right? If after these years we can't agree to disagree... :D HUGS
MacMillan Avatar
Cyndi MacMillan
Date: 5/18/2013 6:34:00 AM
He even says, YOUR KIND, because he is, oh glory be fall to my knees and worhip his greatness, HIS KIND. And those who are not HIS KIND, should pack up there paper, toss their ink and never dare to stain verse with their mediocrity. BAH! Me? I say write, write, write and read read read. The odd thing is, he probably believed strongly in the freedom of expression.
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Cyndi MacMillan
Date: 5/18/2013 6:29:00 AM
I can read his words a hundred ways. I took some drama, know about inflection... so I do understand the PASSION behind his thoughts. Yes, it can and should burst! And it should not be an attempt to copy, to xeorox some other voice... got that.
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Cyndi MacMillan
Date: 5/18/2013 6:25:00 AM
If we read between his lines, he is indicating that there are those "CHOSEN" for "GREATNESS" and if what moves you is DIFFICULT, REQUIRES WORK, DOES NOT COME NATURALLY, should not be pursued? HUH?! Nope, what I can't tell my child, I can not tell another soul. This is, of course, my interpretation.
Aechtner Avatar
Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 5/17/2013 1:58:00 PM
Maybe I am a hexagonal peg. Yeah, seems about right. Even so, depending on the situation, even an icosahedron can fit into a 40-sided polygon.
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 5/17/2013 1:54:00 PM
As long as the diameter of the circle is the right size, the round peg can still fit in the square hole.
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 5/17/2013 1:53:00 PM
**causes -- Well, Cyndi, if you are a square peg for a round hole, then I am a round peg for a square hole :)
Aechtner Avatar
Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 5/17/2013 1:50:00 PM
"Don'ts" can work within and outside of the arts. Don't kill. Don't rape. My art teacher once told someone: "Don't mix those two cutters(mineral spirits/varsols)together, you'll blow holes in your lungs." Or: "Maybe don't add the high-gloss finish to the yellows this time, because it cause the yellows to brown, and the paint cracks much more quickly." Very good pointers within the arts. I completely understand the negative connotations of the word, esp when dampening someone's ego. There are always exceptions to the bell-curve, such as the type of poets you mention(Down's, stroke, etc). They are probably true poets, a poet's poet. I ass.ume Bukowski wasn't referring to these types of people, since he was a bluecollar worker and writer with debilitating alcoholism and mental disease. I might be a bit jaded, because to me, Bukowski's overall message is a very pertinent one, even with its stifling negativity. Switching the "don'ts" with "do", works with the above message.
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Cyndi MacMillan
Date: 5/17/2013 5:55:00 AM
Date: 5/17/2013 5:39:00 AM
Interesting work..I hate the dry spells that come to me..Sara
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Date: 5/16/2013 10:41:00 PM
On second thought, maybe some of Bukowski's work does leap out of his body fully grown, just not from his head. I am pretty sure he likes to mock us, as I saw him doing with a Belgian interviewer, who was trying to analyze Bukowski's work between the drags on a cigarette and swigs of beer that Bukowski was hiding behind in his customary manner. I would have loved to have met this character, especially before he became famous.
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Brian Strand
Date: 5/17/2013 11:14:00 AM
It leaps out even more(as does everbody's verse) when you listen to him read his poetry on youtube.Roy.A very remiscent voice/accent (to my ears) of WCW.
Date: 5/16/2013 10:33:00 PM
I wish my poetry were like Athena, leaping out of the head of Zeus, fully grown and armed, but it's not, nor do I think much of Bukowski's is either, after reading some of his work in which he is actually writing a poem about writing a poem as dinner is made. Of course, the stream of consciousness style makes it easier, doesn't it? Nevertheless, some of his points are well taken. Anyway, I'm more of a gardener. I plant, water, weed and hoe several times before I harvest a poem. Even then, I go back months later and add a stanza or change a word.
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Date: 5/16/2013 10:02:00 PM
So very true Roy ...Seren
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Date: 5/16/2013 9:13:00 PM
Roy, I couldn't agree more(the only angle of introspection that I don't completely agree with, is how sometimes a good polishing of a poem can truly result in a gleaming gem....but hey, I am not famous, so wot do I know? Not too much when compared to the overall universal knowledge base). I've read this before, as have I read a lot of Bukowski's work. "if it doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don't do it. unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don't do it. if you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter searching for words, don't do it." = Awesome! Yes!
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