2 min read

Fuck Bukowski

I hate this quote with a burning passion. I wonder how many promising writers it snuffed into the ground?

So you want to be a writer

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
searching for words,
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 have to wait for it to roar out of
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.

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.” - Bukowski

I believed it for so long. I thought that book writing was ✨magic✨ and that, much like Christine in the Phantom of the Opera, some kind of 'angel of writing' needed to come down and bless me in order for me to write a book. And when that magic didn't come, I gave up before I even started.

But you know what? Christine's angel of music was a creepy murderous psychopath in a mask who groomed minors.

And Bukowski? He had alcoholism and a sex addiction to fuel his writing. It wasn't just magic! It never was! Bukowski altered his mind to get himself in that space where he could access his words. I bet if he was sober and kept it in his pants, much less would have 'roared out of him'.

It's like if Steven King bragged about how quickly he could churn out a novel, or if he told you that 'books just write themselves.' We all know what wrote Steven King's first novels– cocaine!

On top of that, he's manic depressive. So he'll go a longgg time without writing anything, and then have a manic episode, and then do 2,000 words a day, 6 days a week without breaking a sweat. This is all fine and good because King doesn't pretend otherwise.

So, fuck this 'you have to be chosen by God to be a writer' crap.

What is useful is that those writers altered their state of mind to access their fire for writing. Bukowski used women and booze to do it. King used various drugs and manic episodes. But you and I can do it without substances or other conditions.

Successful writers who don't use substances, have learned how to tap into that altered mind state and harness it. Haruki Murakami called it 'mesmerizing himself', and said, "I get up at 4:00 am and work for five to six hours... ...The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind."

And even Stephen King said, "I have a routine because I think that writing is self-hypnosis."

I've had this post open in my tabs for a couple days because I don't know how to end it and still don't. So... bye. Hahahaha.