April 25, 2014 — 332 Comments
This is who's giving writing advice.

Why wouldn’t you take writing advice from this man?


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 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.



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 don’t.

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. 

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    Natalie DeYoung April 29, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    What you said to Bukowski – “yes.” Writing and the experience of being a writer is different for everyone. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Bukowski (well, if you were alive…).


      Totally different.

      And I suppose I shouldn’t judge his lifestyle, but LOOK AT HIM.

      I need to be CUTE. I can’t be all cocked up like that and expect anyone to ever want to kiss me again!

      And did you see what’s next to him? What IS that?


        Don’t be rude, we can’t all be pretty princesses. Maybe she’s smarter, wittier and more fun in bed than you. Still, one gets the feeling her Xmas cookies might not reach your standard.

        DO you need to be cute? Women who are not cute still get kissed but I don’t think they attract douchebags so much.

        Ask some guys to review their own history: were their cuter partners more enjoyable to kiss than the less cute ones? I never noticed a pattern.

        BTW my boy will be 25 in a few years, I’ll put him in a box and post to you if you like. He was raised on the Pixies, you’ll get on fine. 🙂


        Wait, now you want to send your BOY to me?

        What happened to the guy who offered to skype with e in the niddle of the night when I had insomnia?

        What is this, a family sharing plan?

        HELL YES, I NEED TO BE CUTE. And how do you know I attract douchebags? Are you reading these comments, or do you just have a secret window into my life?


        I tried to find the post in which you revealed being a douchemagnet, and slowly realised … ummm… well, the stories I was thinking of do exist but they sort of aren’t quite yours, exactly.

        Except for the unsolicited penis pics. I’m blaming the victim here, your sordid past must have modified your DNA so d-bags can sniff you out from a mile downwind, like moths.

        Or have modern manners really mutated so far as to encompass this as semi-normal?
        I can accept that keeping a special fountain pen for one’s carefully constructed handwritten notes to romantic prospects is not so common now, but has it really been replaced by spamming attractive acquaintances with genital photography and a few words of TXT? If I tried that in NZ I’m sure the women would be on my doorstep pronto with fists of fury. Alternatively my dick would get pinned to a board in the police sex offenders bureau. But probably it would be the fists.

        Anyway I’ve been meaning to tell you something
        but it never seemed the right moment
        but now it can’t be avoided because I slipped up
        so you may think I wasn’t really going to tell you
        but I’d like to think I was.

        There is another woman I’ve been reading. And even commenting. It has been going on for some time.
        There, i said it.

        She’s not like you at all but she has red hair and has d-bag problems.
        I didn’t confuse you with her in the d-bag epic which took four or so posts to hilariously relate, but somewhere there was still some mental leakage. My deepest apologies for this, you are both uniquely wonderful. Please don’t scratch her eyes out.


        Manners HAVE mutated.

        This is the cyber generation. Being single during this time is a nightmare, unless you’re 23.

        Everyone not only sends, but requests pics. After, one coffee. “send me pics.” Yes, those kind.

        And I would never scratch another blogger’s eyes out! There’s room on wordpress for all us red headed bloggers! It’s okay to get us confused.

        As long as you like ME better.


    Interesting conversation… I have mixed emotions about the man. I think he was more talented as a novelist than poet, but I agree with you Samara, that he was a hard working writer. I wonder what kind of poetry he would have produced if he would have spent as much time editing that portion of his work as he clearly spent working on his novels.


    Fucking love it! Somebody just posted that Bukowski poem on Facebook the other day and I had a similar reaction, but yours is leaps and bounds more eloquent than mine. Beautiful, beautiful.


      Right? It’s like, IN YOUR FACE, dude!

      If I was completely smashed all the time, and allowed to call in work drunk, I’d be amazing, too!

      Well, probably not. But it’s something to aspire to.

      So glad you came by! Come and play again sometime!


    God who would wanna be such an asshole?


      But he was a talented, prolific asshole.

      I wonder – would I trade being a cool human being for being a mega talented asshole? I’m not sure.

      It’s like the question I ask myself, if I had to pick – would I give up my intelligence to be stunningly beautiful? That one’s easier for me to answer. No.

      But the other one – I’m not sure.

      Either way, I’m so glad you stopped by to say hi, and play on my blog!


    “Or else we can discount every band that emerged from the Seattle grunge scene after Nirvana.”
    Or even Nirvana themselves for trying to emulate the Melvins and the Pixies



      Who are you??
      I might just be in love.

      You could be a man or a woman, as long as you’re over 25.


        Well are you ever in luck because I am a either a man or a woman who is over 25.
        I just recently got into the Pixies after many people over the years telling me I would like them. Queens of the Stone age are another band I’ve just gotten into that I’ve known about for years but just never tuned into them.
        Sometimes you just get so caught up in your own interests and bands that you love that when a “new” old band comes around you’ve got to ask that question. “Where is my mind?”


        Not only don’t i know where my mind is, I’m not sure I even understood why the question.

        Doesn’t matter. You blog. You like good music. Tell me more.


        I think “where is my mind?” was the first pixies song I ever heard. So when going through their discography I was tuned into that question. I’ve stocking up my punk folder lately. At the drive in has found it back on my hard drive and another band that someone pointed out to me last year. Joy Division. I’m on the hunt for some right meow.


        Yes! where is my mind!

        Joy Division is not my fave; the vocals are too robotic. But I love 70’s punk, and 80s post punk.

    Charlie Alford April 30, 2014 at 7:53 am

    This was brilliant. Great conversation 🙂


      Thanks for being a part of it.

      I hope you’ll take a look around, and play on my blog whenever you can. I like meeting new bloggers!


    Excellent post, gave me goosebumps. You are definitely a writer.


    Yes, yes, yes and yes. I read Bukowski’s poem for the first time recently and it made me feel like giving up – even though I’m just breaking the habit of a lifetime by actually starting to write. Something.

    You write. That makes you a writer. Please keep on, and I will try to, too.


      Caroline, writing is how I BREATHE.

      It doesn’t just pour out of me. But everyone is different.

      Like, for instance, that…creature standing next to Bukowski in the photo.THAT’S different, now isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by and saying Hi! I hope you come back and play on my blog again!


    I’d never read any Bukowski until Freshly Pressed sent me to this post. Having read it, I find most of what he says resonates with how I feel about writing. Unless it’s bursting to come out, or I feel that I need to write, I just can’t motivate myself to write anything.

    I ‘d like to advance to your position and just get on with it regardless of other people’s advice or allowing my own laxity to triumph.

    As it happens, both you and Bukowski have made me feel like writing something. Thanks! 🙂



      If I inspired anyone to write anything, anytime, I’m SO HAPPY!

      Thanks for stopping by to play on my blog! Hope you visit again soon!


    I have mixed feelings about Bukowski. While I have not read any of his novels, I have read quite a bit of his poetry. Some of his poems I like a lot, while others are just pure miserable crap (my opinion of course). Nobody can knock the fact that he wrote a lot though, and he may have worked much harder at it than he let on, thus making the poem that you have so beautifully dissected here, just the ranting of a miserable drunk. He may have only half believed in what he wrote in that poem, having written it under the influence of god knows what. Drunks are like that, and Bukowski was a drunk, albeit a talented one.

    That said, I know quite a few professional writers, and I can tell you that they have achieved what success they enjoy through hard work. Good luck and I am enjoying your blog.


      I so appreciate you coming over to play on my blog, and being part of the conversation.

      I think you’re right- some of his work is pure genius. Even this poem has its merits; it speaks of a passion that some people forget is the backbone of art.

      But he was also a gross drunken buffoon. So there’s that.


    The old humdrum…he was not a very nice person but his writing …well, I like it.


      I love his writing!

      “humdrum” – that’s such a nice way to describe him.

      “Asshole” comes to mind, when I think of how he carried on.

      Thanks for stopping by! I have a hat just like the one you’re wearing in your gravatar!


        I love his writing too. I was not very concerned with public opinion! :-)…love my hat…It’s my riding hat when I want to be a biker chick.


        Okay, so I have this post I wrote – “21 things I Irrationally love.”

        And I wrote black leather clothing. But I elaborated – not just jackets and skirts and vests. I wrote that I have a black leather hat, which my friends call my “gay man’s hat.”

        It’s totally a biker hat! But that’s what my friends call it. And there was a lot of hilarity in the comment section about me and my “gay man’s hat”!

        It sorta kinda stuck. Some of my blogging friends demand I wear it, if ever we actually meet!


        one of my readers asked if I am a policewoman…they just don’t get it! it is not gay!



        It’s because we’re from cool cities (I’m from NY), and they’re from the buttfuck, Nebraska!


        that explains everything! 😉


    No offense intended, to you or Mr. Bukowski, but the words we speak and write directly influence the nature of our hearts. Ejecting foul language doesn’t really purge us of angst or irritation; it primes us for it, invites more of it in.


      No offense taken!

      My blog is a place for conversation, and all opinions are welcome. As long as they’re expressed without being mean!

      I appreciate that you took the time to read, and comment. And – you have a good point!


    Love it. Love the premise of the post and love your writing, it goes straight to the gut. In a good way. From what I know about Bukowski (which isn’t much but I plan on changing that) this poem makes me wonder whether he wrote it to or about himself. Like some kind of pep-talk antichrist. I don’t think he was the type of guy to dole out advice, however discouraging it may be – that would have been too cute. He tried so hard to be a low life that the fame and women he got because of his writing may have been too much for him to take, it messed with his world vision. But who knows, it’s Bukowski!


      “He tried so hard to be a low life”-

      Yes, I think that hits the nail on the head! I think he deliberately set out to immerse himself in a seedy world, thinking it would provide the proper context for his work.

      I can’t work out of the chaos. But I love Bukowski, and I love this poem.

      Thanks for coming to play on my blog! I hope you do, again!


    Hello there, I laughed on several occasions; maniacal laughter.
    First Drafts invariably are nothing more than fertiliser for the full grown product. I, like you, will write something, walk away, come back, re read and prune, or re-write. I don’t suffer from writers block as I often wake with words bursting in my brain. So I write and, when finished, look at the embryo I have spawned. I admit to not being a good poet, but how is a person supposed to improve if failure is not in the vocabulary of the writer.

    I will now share your post with my cohort, I’m sure they will appreciate it.


    I love your fun and irreverent style. In fact your writing reminds me a bit of Bukowski’s, which I haven’t read in a long time, so . . . . I was a little confused by the way your post was formatted, all the short lines and spaces, and then I GOT it (at least I think I got it). The first part of your blog IS a poem, right? Regardless, your response to the poet is brilliant.


      I’m not sure even I undrstand the way it was formatted!

      It was prose, in the beginning, with interruptions to play flappy birds and stuff.

      And then i twas a response to the poem.

      Yes. That sounds right.

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it.


    I love the imagery you paint with your words. The frantic pace is something that I would love to emulate in my own writing but that you have mastered. Keep up the great work and all the best!


    Brilliant. Just brilliant.


    Wow. Really? I wrote two hilarious comments (at least as far as you know) and both were apparently sacrificed to the internet gods.

    In summation: I have issues. And writer’s block. And you are as awesome as ever.



      Did you write them on your phone? That happens to me.

      The Internet HAS no god. muahhahahahaha

      Thank you. I think you’re awesome.


        Oh. There is an internet god. It is a dark and brooding god that desires blood sacrifice. It prefers the sweet impressionable writings of young virgins. But this is the internet and virgins are in short supply. It will accept my barely coherent self-depreciation.

        And it wasn’t even on my phone. It was on my laptop. But, fuck it. I am going to go feed the internet god some bizarre Google search terms.

    yeseventhistoowillpass May 2, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Wow you were fresh pressed .. This is Master Po.. Very good Grasshopper. This is my new blog I left omtatjuan in the past..


    I heard someone say, writers are depressed people. Hooray to all depressed!


    That was awesome.

    The parts about it “bursting out” despite whatever else you do, or sitting for hours before words, pretty much shred me because of the days when I want so badly to put any words down, sometimes more for the act of writing any combination of letters than the meaning, and the thing in my head that I thought was a lake turns out to be an endless piece of glass.

    Most people “have to sit there and write it again and again”; I’m more inclined to believe Ernest Hemingway’s position on first drafts, and refusing to edit is usually careless— if you actually want to say something to anyone.

    The poem that inspired yours was spiteful and would’ve eventually done a lot to stop me and too many others were it not for your takedown of it. Again, awesome; great job.



    “I would rather be paid minimum wage to help elderly people fix their Internet over the phone than be involved with another writer.” — Enjoyed this line, enjoyed it all. Hilarious, full of writerly angst. Bleed on, brother!

    alexrothschild May 4, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I have to push through resistance too. It’s like part of me wants to write and the other part just wants to watch the Sci Fi channel.


      Go, Sci Fi!

      There are so many good reasons to watch that channel – and I’m not even a big TV watcher.

      Yes. Push through resistance. Right now, I’m answering blog comments instead of writing a post, which is what I should be doing.

      Thanks for coming and playing on my blog! Visit again soon, okay?


    Reblogged this on innerrecessesofaforeverrovingmind and commented:
    i found this hilarious


    Reblogged this on Thee Incendiary Witchboard and commented:
    I’m not digging my copy of Pulp out of the garbage.


    That is good writing about how hard writing is…


    Wow I enjoyed reading this. I also want to be a writer and 100% agree that it just not ‘just happen’ Charles is an inspiration but I LOVE your deconstruction of his poem. Spot. On.


    This was amazing to read it resonate with a lot of my feelings when I get writers block. I always think the great writers never struggle like I do for the poetry to come out, but your work is great and to hear your feelings on writers block is refreshing. And I’m a big fan of Bukowski and that title was a great eye catcher don’t see piehole used.


    That’s a great story! Glad I’m not the only one who does stuff like that.


      Hahaha – what? Talk back to dead poets?

      What can I say. I see dead people?

      I really appreciate that you took the time to read, and comment. I love when new people come and play on my blog!

    confusedfrenchgirl May 9, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    This is just brilliant. You go girl!


      Wow, thank you for that compliment!

      I love that you took the time to read, and play on my blog.
      I hope you visit again. I really appreciate the time you took to do that.


    Bukowski didn’t have Twitter to sideline him. We’re all doomed.


      Twitter. Why have I become involved with Twitter?
      I feel like I sold my soul to the Devil.

      Thank you for reading, and commenting and playing on my blog.
      I hope you keep doing that. I really appreciate it.


    Susan Rowland May 13, 2014 at 6:07 pm



    Thank you for being as passionate and as pissed off as I am with not fulfilling my writerly dreams! And fuck doing it for fame. Really. The internet has made writing cheap and I wish I didn’t have to have a part in it. Keep writing. You’re better than you think.


      I like thinking that I’m better than I think.
      That’s a great thought to think.

      Thank you for reading and saying hi. I appreciate you stopping by!


    I love this so hard! No one decides my path but me. Sure shit can happen that is unexpected maybe put me off the rails a bit….but you put some lip stick on, shimmy into your big girl panties and pick the next path. Brilliant as always Samara.


    I’m curious as to who really wanted to fuck Bukowski. He was one ugly motherfucker. Even if he paid me I wouldn’t fuck him. Sorry, I know this had nothing to do with being a writer, but that shit crossed my mind since his manwhore ways were mentioned repeatedly.


      He got laid a LOT. He was famous, you know? That’s sexual currency.

      Before his fame? Well, look at who he’s with in the picture. Water seeks its own level.
      Thanks for reading, Kim!!


    Inspired and inspiring! The number one thing is if you have to listen to how someone else says to do it, you probably won’t do it. We’ve all got to carve our own path. Hopefully not in our actual skin though it may feel like it. Can I get an amen?

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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  2. SHUT YER PIEHOLE, CHARLES BUKOWSKI! | Translation Scrapbook - May 1, 2014


  3. Why I Write | rarasaur - May 2, 2014

    […] many years before, but one with shameless smiles who writes of hydrants in burning temperatures and how perhaps everyone writes for recognition.  (Not everyone does, beautiful Samara.  Some of us write because we have a long way to go before […]

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