The writing gods have buried me.
Enter Charles Bukowski, “so you want to be a writer?”
This poem has always fired me up, like a pep squad before the big game, like anabolics the coach procured to shoot into beautiful blue teenage veins.
Today – that poem is the PLAGUE.
It’s a tirade of what I’m not and how I can’t and why I shouldn’t.
Fuck you, Bukowski.
Shut yer PIEHOLE.
Yes, I want to be a writer, Bukowski.
For weeks now, the words are bottlenecking at my throat; cutting like ground glass swallowed.
I dream HARD and wake up to words bursting! Grab a pad, and:
“The merry-go-round is only the equivalent of an undergraduate degree; not even a stream in the clown’s mouth on the boardwalk of academia.”
You think YOU don’t know what I just said? Try being the person who just wrote that.
You were incredibly prolific, Bukowski. Your work ethic unparalleled.
I CAN’T DO IT.
I can’t work 12 hour shifts, dragging mailbags along the smog filled streets of LA, back and forth on gravelly pavement in cheap shoes and then come home and write all night long, fueled by insanity, nicotine and rot gut wine.
When I read your brilliant poems, I hear them punctuated by the yellow phlegm of your hacking cough interrupted by trips to the 7-11 to corrode your teeth and liver and soul.
You lived like the pulp fiction heroes you immortalized. You cavorted with lowlife hookers and winos. No one depended on you or asked anything of your booze-soaked brain and sociopathic womanizing EXCEPT to write.
I can’t wake up painfully hung over in a flophouse motel after a one night tryst with an unwashed hooker, watch a man plummet to the ground outside my sooty window and then crawl to the school where I projectile vomit at a PTO meeting.
So, BITE ME, Bukowski, literary king of LA’s lice infested underworld.
You wrote as you lived – blunt, angry, vulgar, demented and sordid. Your creativity fed off of drama and chaos and emotional filth.
Emotional disarray vaporizes me; blocks my words which need release SO BADLY. The frenzied high of shooting dope on the keyboard, the good nod when I hit the vein of an idea.
You arrogant know-it-all, buried with that obnoxious “Don’t Try” on your gravestone.
Easy to say because YOU BECAME FAMOUS.
I HAVE to try.
Not everyone can get hellafied on a jug of MadDog 20 20 and then word vomit genius.
HERE’S WHAT I THINK OF YOUR STUPID POEM:
if it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it-
What if it crawls out of me slower than an Amish drag race? Don’t judge my process.
If you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter for words, don’t do it.
I’m not that old that I would hunch over a goddamn IBM Selectric, but I do stare at the computer for hours.
I wrote the last sentence at 7 pm. Now it’s 9 pm, and I’m hearing it through a different set of ears. My words gestate slowly. Soon it’ll be midnight; by 2 am – maybe I’ll have a paragraph.
Then I’ll reward myself with porn.
If you’re doing it for money or fame, don’t do it.
While writing rarely yields a solid living, anyone who tells you they don’t want recognition is lying.
Why would bloggers be tweeting, meme-ing, pinning, tumbling, instagraming, and making YouTube channels of themselves?
So they can hide in the Witness Protection Program?
if you’re doing it because you want women in your bed, don’t do it.
You were infamous for bedding everyone, you he-whore!
If I write to impress Jennie Saia, because I want to visit her and drink wine with her SO HARD, run away with her to Mexico, are YOU going to judge me?
You’d write 50 poems to her smooth skin. Have you seen the picture of her in her bikini?
if you have to sit there and rewrite it again and again, don’t do it.
I do and I do.
My first drafts are complete SHIT. Shit is the fertilizer that makes my ideas grow into beautiful flowers.
If it’s hard work just thinking about doing it, don’t do it
Sometimes, it is. And I have to push through that place of resistance.
Would you have me lay on my deathbed thinking of all the things I didn’t do because they seemed like hard work? That describes 2/3 of life. The other 1/3 I’m sleeping.
if you’re trying to write like somebody else, forget about it.
Sometimes artistry is emulation. Or else we can discount every band that emerged from the Seattle grunge scene after Nirvana.
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.
I would rather be paid minimum wage to help elderly people fix their Internet over the phone than marry another writer.
don’t be like so many thousands of people who call themselves writers, don’t be dull and boring and pretentious,
Because, you know, that’s totally what I’m GOING for here.
unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don’t do it.
Suicide? You’d love that, you tragic asshole. And I was close to murder today. I wanted to kill YOU deader than you already were, telling me “don’t do it” like some backwards Nike commercial looped endlessly.
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.
Yes. FINALLY we agree.
It chose me.
What do I do now? Now that I’ve deconstructed you, sentence by sentence, I guess I don’t want to be a writer. By your standards, I’m NOT a writer.
You hijacked my identity.
I can’t live the self destructive fallacy of the vice ridden artiste.
So would you have me buy into your perception of me? Just, give up? Your own advice would tell ME to tell YOU to go fuck yourself.
But if life is made up of a string of moments, and there is only THIS moment,
Then in THIS moment, aren’t I a writer?
So confusing. Now I know why you drank daily.
Maybe just today.
Maybe just this moment.
But I finally put down words. So, I want to be a writer.
And now I’ll hit, “Publish.”
Go fuck yourself, Bukowski.
Did you ever have horrible writer’s block? Or lack the time, energy, whatever, to write?
Does it eat at you?
Talk to me. I’m listening.