Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Reading. Bukowski. (then and now).

It all started with that Modest Mouse song. Woke up this morning and it seemed to me/that every night turns out to be/A little more like Bukowski/And yeah, I know he's a pretty good read/But God who'd wanna be?/God who'd wanna be such an asshole? I listened to it in the car all the time, singing aloud at the top of my lungs even if I didn't quite know the words. Then I started reading Bukowski. It took a while. And then with a suddenness that caught me off guard, left me breathless, flat on my face (I think I've said this before), I was in love. That was almost exactly a year ago.

When I read Bukowski now I don't feel the same way I did a year ago. I can't. I'm not the same person. There is a handful of writers who changed me so completely that I would never be the same after I encountered their work, and Bukowski is the beginning of what happened between last September and this one. That time belongs to that moment when I was twenty-five and my world was about to change, and I cannot go back to it, nor would I want to. I started reading again last fall and I have not stopped since, have not been able to stop. I took a break from Bukowski some time during the Spring and Summer (with a brief return for Factotum when the film came out) and wandered through other writers and other worlds, fell in love with someone else's words. That is another story. But occasionally I would find another Bukowski I didn't have, add it to my collection, save it for another day. Like today.

Beyond the drinking and the women and the gambling one theme that comes up again and again (and I think this is part of what I love most about Bukowski) is his belief that writing is everything. That if you are a writer you have to write and write and write (and he certainly took this to heart; prolific old bastard, his posthumous work is almost equal to his life work), and I have held this close to me since I began writing six months ago. Has it really been six months? I can't stop now, any more than I can stop eating or reading or breathing. Part of it is knowing that there are people who actually read this (all three of you) and your comments mean more to me than I can possibly say; they tell me, ok, you have to keep writing, because it means something. Mostly it is the exercise of getting up every day and finding something to write about. I thought it would be hard, and sometimes it is. But somehow more often than not the words just come. It takes time. I will walk away and come back, write something and think about it and then come back. But I will always come back.

there's nothing like being young and starving,/living in a roominghouse and/pretending to be a/writer/while other men are occupied with their professions and/their possessions....stretched out on the bed/in the dark,/smoking a rolled/cigarette/and working on the/last bottle of/wine,/the sheets of your/writing strewn across the/floor./you have walked on and across/them,/your masterpieces, and/either/they'll be read in/hell,/or perhaps/gnawed at by the/curious/mice.

(From Bone Palace Ballet: New Poems).

1 comment:

'Savannah' said...

I am going to go get one of his books. You have piqued my curiosity. By the way, your writing IS wonderful. You have me hooked : )

I know how you feel with no one really reading your blog yet. Laying parts of your soul bare but no one notices. . yet. Like running down the street naked, a vacant street.