Amber O'Neil - Blowing My Hero (1 Viewer)

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Rekrab

Usually wrong.
David, David, David. Why would you suggest mutilating the books in such a barbaric fashion?...

mjp: Perversity on my part, sheer perversity. That, and an irrepressible urge to circumvent the constraints of the system. Call me rebel (or a jerk). But I like the idea. She could number them, sign them, insert a page explaining where the letters went and why. It could be quite a statement.

As for back alleys and such, I suppose such transactions do take place, and if the exchanges are for scholarly purposes, perhaps they are almost defensible under the "fair use" standard of copyright, but cutting the books up -- that could be done out in the open sunlight of broad day for all to see, rich and poor alike, etc., etc.
 
Good Grief, Holy Cow, !$#@$%#!!, what did I get myself into so many years ago! What if people just wanted to see the words....could I just make copies of the whole book, letters and all and give them to you scholars for free? Because it is a funny story. I truthfully know zip about collectors, but I seem to be getting the idea that it is a business. Whereas, some people are just great fans of Bukowski and are more or less curious about anything that has to do with him. They might just enjoy the words. Am I off course here, warm or cold?
 

mjp

Founding member
Yes, I'm sure many here would be happy with a copy of the book, but you said, "The remaining copies are in boxes at my home," so I imagine that most people here are thinking, "Well, break open those boxes, Amber!"

Of course everyone understands that you can't sell them. But if you or someone else gave them away - you know, for scholarly purposes - and then those scholars happened to pay you for postage and handling (and I'm sure there would be a tremendous amount of handling involved, for which a more than fair return could be expected), well then that's just a good natured transfer of knowledge between pals, yeah?

But, all kidding and innuendo aside, yes, collecting is a big business for some. They would be interested in your book for it's resale value. But the reason that resale value is so high is because there are so few copies on the market. If the market was somehow flooded with copies, the resale value would be greatly diminished and then they could find their way into the hands of the people who just want to the book to read and keep and not resell.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Hi Amber. No, it would not be legal for you to wholesale xerox a bunch of copies of your book, Buk letters and all, and give them away in a systematic fashion. On the other hand, if a researcher/scholar asked you for a single copy and you gave that to him -- for research purposes -- I believe that would be legal. Somewhere between one copy and many, it gets murky, the graylands of copyright law. I have read a bit about copyright, not much -- just enough to keep myself out of trouble. It is weird because the accused/defendant (I'm I'm correctly understanding what I've read) has the burden of proving their innocence, that their use of material was permissible under the "fair use" rule. It's kind of upside down from the usual "innocent until proven guilty." So that is why I suggested you cut out the letters and give away or sell the memoir alone. That would be perfectly legal.

Now I can't imagine why any big time publisher would even give a damn about your use of some Bukowski letters in a chapbook, but I guess they have to agressively protect their copyright in order to keep from setting a precedent of allowing unauthorized use. Meaning they have to go after any and all infringement like bulldogs. It's ugly, this world of copyright.

As for Bukowski fans, some of us are readers and just want to read your story in any form, some are collectors and they will want the full, unmutilated first edition, and some are in it only for the money, to buy the books cheap and sell them high. Crazy world, I know.
 
What a great post! I have a copy of 'Born into this' and when I came across Ambers deleted scene I was pretty much thrilled.

Her testimony highlight that human centred aspect of Bukowski....his ability to embellish if not distort some of his experience for 'artistic merit' and the clear bald fact that he too had emotional problems...that we can never escape, but that give us our centre.

Personally, Amber, you seemed like a very nice person, a character in your own right...pleasure to hear your story and even more special for your to appear and reply on the Bukowski website.

saluti! :)
 

Brother Schenker

Founding member
The thing about copyright isn't just the sales aspect, it also includes unauthorized reproduction & distribution---therefore the scholarly angle does not negate this. You cannot legally even photocopy or scan the letters. You could, however, send the originals to a scholar or allow the scholar to visit you and peruse the letters...

If you want to sell or share the book legally then you should write to Bukowski's estate and enclose copies of the letters you would like to publish within your memoir. Don't bother sending your text because it's none of their damn business. You don't need their approval of your text---only of the Buk letters.

Now, if I were in your shoes, and I did not get a reply from the estate within a reasonable amount of time (say 3 months) then I would remove the letters from the book and simply publish the text as a memoir. I would then scan the letters and post them in the database here at bukowski.net and risk the wrath of the estate and/or that greedy, one-hit-wonder John Martin (who seems to think he owns Bukowski).

The worst they can do is issue an order of Cease & Desist and that would mean MJP would be obligated to remove the scans from the database---so what? They could only sue for damages if they could prove that your actions have negatively affected the sales of in-print items---and that's not likely to happen. It costs alot of money & time to sue someone and it would be extremely petty of the estate to do so. I have my doubts that Linda Bukowski is all that petty given the fact that she just recently donated a shitload of Buk materials to a southern California institution. She could've sold the materials for a helluva lot of money had she wanted to or needed to. She obviously does not need the money.

You could self-publish your memoirs at lulu.com for literally no money at all and then simply let us know here at bukowski.net that the book exists. Or you could ask Bottle of Smoke Press (a regular contributor here at buk.net) if they would be interested in publishing your memoir (with or without the letters).

Just thinking out loud...
 

mjp

Founding member
The thing about copyright isn't just the sales aspect, it also includes unauthorized reproduction & distribution---therefore the scholarly angle does not negate this.
Yes, I know. I assumed everyone could see the tongue in cheek, even through their computer monitors.

My point in all this has been, if a handful of these books - in their original, unaltered state - were sold, given away, whatever, quietly, behind the scenes, no one would have to know and who the hell would care?

All you are doing when you start talking about copyright laws and prosecution is guaranteeing that those books will stay in those boxes forever, and now you and I will probably never read it.

--

Martin was/is a vindictive control freak (at least in my personal experience with him, which is all I have to go on). He didn't care about the "suppressed" books getting out. That's obvious from the Going Modern story, his buying 6 copies of Amber's book from her, and retaining or buying copies of everything that he prevented from seeing wide release.

Why did he want these? To give to the Smithsonian? No, he sold most of this stuff. He sold manuscripts, Bukowski art (I know because I bought some), books, all kinds of things. He supplied the secondary market that he created with his limited and special editions and "suppressed" titles. Clever? Sure. Fucked up? I don't know. You tell me.

I'm not sure why anyone cares what Martin thinks now anyway. If he's reading this, I cordially invite him to kiss my ass. I respect and appreciate what he accomplished, but I will always remember him as a nasty prick who went out of his way to fuck me over, and seemed to get a kick out of playing dirty.

But hey, that's just my experience. I'm sure he's a regular saint otherwise.
 

Brother Schenker

Founding member
Yes, I know. I assumed everyone could see the tongue in cheek, even through their computer monitors.

My mistake, MJP, I thought I was replying to Redkrab who mentioned something about the possibility of a scholar getting ahold of one of the books.

I absolutely agree with you about her selling the books quietly through email or private messages here. She could set up a Paypal account and that way us international customers could easily buy a copy. I know I would.

If anyone reading this knows or communicates with Linda Bukowski perhaps they could ask her if she even gives a damn about a former flame publishing personal correspondence with Buk. She seems pretty down-to-earth and un-mercenary. If she's alright with it, then Amber just needs to get a written release from her (probably after Linda has perused copies of said letters).

I'm really surprised Bottle of Smoke Press hasn't shown any interest...
 
You're sure right on the button, MJP! Now, I'm definitely scared. Whenever there is money involved, people do more than change their zip codes. I guess that is what happened to Mr. Martin.

If anyone wants to meet me at Tad's steakhouse on Powell Street in San Francisco, you could read the whole book in the time it takes to eat a cheeseburger, and then I would just take the book back home!

I'm just no match for John Martin, let's face it.
 

Brother Schenker

Founding member
Martin was/is a vindictive control freak (at least in my personal experience with him, which is all I have to go on). He didn't care about the "suppressed" books getting out. That's obvious from the Going Modern story, his buying 6 copies of Amber's book from her, and retaining or buying copies of everything that he prevented from seeing wide release.

Why did he want these? To give to the Smithsonian? No, he sold most of this stuff. He sold manuscripts, Bukowski art (I know because I bought some), books, all kinds of things. He supplied the secondary market that he created with his limited and special editions and "suppressed" titles. Clever? Sure. Fucked up? I don't know. You tell me.
I formed a bad opinion of the man after reading his letter about Jim Christy's Buk Book. He revealed himself to be an arrogant control freak. I was also further turned off after reading a Buk letter about taking Martin to task for editing and changing words in his poems without clearing it with him first.

Anyhow, truly appreciate this inside scoop about your dealings with him.

Deep down inside, Bukowski was probably nothing more than a cash cow for Martin. The pimp and his best whore.
 
If anyone reading this knows or communicates with Linda Bukowski perhaps they could ask her if she even gives a damn about a former flame publishing personal correspondence with Buk. She seems pretty down-to-earth and un-mercenary. If she's alright with it, then Amber just needs to get a written release from her (probably after Linda has perused copies of said letters).
I don't think Linda is overly fond of me. I have good reason to believe this from some correspondence with John Martin. As you note, Linda referred to the women who visited Bukowski as "research." I didn't realize that at the time, but she is probably correct. We were research for a man who had so many years of deprivation when it came to women.

And, for some reason, probably because she was dating him when I flew down for my visit, I think she has an especially bad feeling about me. I had asked John Martin at the time of finding out that I couldn't sell the memoir, "Hey, why don't you publish it!" He said something to the effect that he didn't think that Linda would appreciate that.

I'm sorry about these bad feelings, but can understand them. Believe me, I was no threat to anyone!!
 
It would seem so petty for Linda to care at this point other then perhaps the feelings of you trying to profit...but well, why should they have exclusive rights on profitting from Buk? Your experience is as valid and anyone who knew the man.

It would just surprise me if Linda would personally give a shit. I mean, after all, it's Bukowski. If she feels like she had exclusivity on his heart, then that would seem dillusional. (shit, now I feel like Linda Lee is going to pop up on this board and set me straight, haha)

So what if you were research. You were characterized in one of the most popular american writer's most popular novels. Can't take away from that. I'm personally totally star stuck by your experience and the fact that you're posting on this board.

thanks

You're sure right on the button, MJP! Now, I'm definitely scared. Whenever there is money involved, people do more than change their zip codes. I guess that is what happened to Mr. Martin.

If anyone wants to meet me at Tad's steakhouse on Powell Street in San Francisco, you could read the whole book in the time it takes to eat a cheeseburger, and then I would just take the book back home!

I'm just no match for John Martin, let's face it.

Uh, are you serious? When? Anytime. Just to see it would be so fun. I'll buy you dinner and drinks. I live 4 blocks away from Tad's.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Martin was/is a vindictive control freak [...] If he's reading this, I cordially invite him to kiss my ass.

mjp: Wow. But what do you really think??? This is an incredible thread, and I haven't even finished reading it all.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Finished it. More incredible.

Don't be afraid of powerful people, Amber. They are hollow inside. Real people, small people, have true guts. They prove it every day.

On the copyright issue, I think Brother S. is right. I am no lawyer, no expert on copyright, but from the small amount I've read on the subject, it's very restrictive in favor of the copyright holder. You can't do shit without permission (until public domain kicks in). It's not just what you do. It's why, in what context, to what degree, and what effect it has on the potential marketability of property.

All that is well and good, but it means it's not legal to copy and distribute anything protected, in any amount, even for free. The "fair use" exception is for certain very limited circumstances, and is always open to question. A library will allow you to photocopy some stuff in a book, but not too much. Nobody is allowed to sell a bunch of copies of anything that is copyrighted, or to give them away.

That said, I think mjp is right when he says that if some stuff happens out of sight and nobody knows about it, who gives a damn?

What seems weird to me is how publishers (books, music) go after their biggest fans (and customers) for these petty infringements. It just seems dumb and counter-productive. They would do better feeding the market, allowing everything out, rather than trying to control it all and squeeze out every nickel of income.

Anyhow, don't be intimidated Amber. You are in control of your book and can just let the copies sit in boxes till they rot. Nothing to fear here.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
I'm really surprised Bottle of Smoke Press hasn't shown any interest...
It has already been published and supressed. I don't imagine that the Bukowski estate would have changed their minds. They own the rights to the letters. No one, but Black Sparrow (and Annie Menebroker) has ever been able to get rights to publish letters. Steve Richmonds book was surpressed too. Isn't the same thing happenning with Norse?

Also Amber, I'd love a copy of the book, but you need to be very careful. Distributing copyrighted material can land you in a bunch of trouble. It honestly seems to me that this would not be worth getting sued for.

As far as Bottle of Smoke Press, I would not publish anything that I did not have explicit rights to publish. I can't rish my family's house publishing something and then getting sued because I did not have the right to publish something.

All best,
Bill
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
what was Martin's beef about Jim Christy's book? is the letter that Brother Shenker referred to readable anywhere?
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
what was Martin's beef about Jim Christy's book? is the letter that Brother Shenker referred to readable anywhere?

I read it online when Christy's book first came out. Caustic. I don't know if it's still up. Try Googling.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
To save others the time: (take this down if it's inappropriate)... This is from some dumb website with "100 things you didn't know about Bukowski." This is number 70-something:

"John Martin, Black Sparrow Press publisher, on Jim Christy's The Buk Book, which includes some vintage footage of Bukowski fondling a stripper: "It is all just so stupid and crass. Bottom of the barrel stuff. Scum and shit . . . So far as I'm concerned, you are the dregs of the earth."
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
maybe he was worried it would tarnish bukowski's image :rolleyes:
 

mystery girl

Founding member
Hi, remember me? Hi Amber, interesting story you have and so wierd that you felt as betrayed as I did in Women.Anyway, I haven't been here for a while. What I find so fascinating is this character of this hard-drinking, hard-lovin'(ha!) man he so successfully portrayed himself as...kind of awkward phrasing, but true. And you said it more gracefully than I, that he was"old and tired" - that was a very nice way to put it. "It" was never even there to begin with. And as far as being "research", he did some Academy Award winning acting if I (we) were research. I was a very pretty young blond thing, as I'm sure you, Amber, were way out of his class as well. He was so desperate to be who he could never become- that guy Henry C. I laughed all the way through that movie that Matt Dillon was in - he was writing that novel when we were writing one another. It should have been called "Fiction."

If he could have acted as the person that wrote me those letters, I mean he was that person, but he was afraid and of course, there was John Martin and everybody else who wanted so bad for him to be that macho, ridiculous character. Even some of the young guys so enamored with him here, in this forum, think he was that. I was so pissed off I nearly burned all my letters and stuff. But I didn't, thank God. I'm planning my retirement around them... I finally saw a picture of Linda King. Kind of spooky. Last time I saw that face it lips were drawn back to show the teeth! And there he was, pretending to have hurt his leg. He couldn't get up and help, it was too much fun watching. I am so happy, though, she did a huge favor for me. I have a great life, husband and beautiful, smart kids. I guess I was so naive back then. Weren't we, Amber?
 
Mystery girl, that was a heartfelt and passionate post!! I keep telling myself to separate the man from his art. He could tear to shreds many people in print, not only the naive young women who believed his letters, but also many men who helped him along in his career, as well as fledgling writers.

I don't know exactly why he did that, but I think it had to do with his own self disgust. Luckily, I didn't meet with your misfortune with Linda King! As I am 4 ft. 11 " tall, it would have been a bantam against a heavy weight.
Truthfully, the Big B was very gentle with me for some reason (in person.)
I was just a little street sparrow who came his way!

But, you are right, I have three great children, and a formidable loving husband, in spite of being immortalized in a humilating public forum. And, I really appreciate your support! One time I heard that this Dutch director who made The Terminator was going to make a move of Women. I quickly sent him my manuscript of my small memoir and said "Hey, if you are going to tell that story, I think you should see all sides to it!" So far, they haven't made that movie, but no doubt they will.

Kind regards, Amber
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
Hi Amber. I think you mean Paul Verhoeven who made Robocop?
So I wonder how you (and mystery girl) would feel if Women became a movie?
 
Hi Amber. I think you mean Paul Verhoeven who made Robocop?
So I wonder how you (and mystery girl) would feel if Women became a movie?

That's the director, for sure. Thanks, Solo. This was many years ago that Mr. Verhoeven was considering this movie.

Anyway, of course, it will be quite painful, from my point of view, to see Women become a movie. As I said to a friend, it is as if a personal relationship/humiliation were being broadcast to all the guys on the corner and they were getting their yuk, yuks from reading about it, or in the case of a movie watching it.
 

mystery girl

Founding member
You speak exactly how I feel, Amber. It's so GOOD to know someone else who went through it - I used to think Linda King showed up unexpectedly, but now I think HE contacted her. He was so afraid of being not cool; always talking bad about Ferlingetti and W. Burroughs. How they weren't really up to his level, yet he was in the background. He finally got the attention he deserved. He WAS a wonderful writer. But he was NOT a very REAL person. If they made the movie Women, I'm sure it would be just like the book. Why else would they do it? Who wants to see an old fart not being able to perform? Or see young women getting their feelings hurt because they were misrepresented? That would be kind of boring I suppose. Everyone who doubted his truthfulness would just buy a bag of popcorn and suspend disbelief.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Wow, this whole chain of events/conversation is amazing.

Indeed! - to say the least. It's not everyday that two women who knew Buk meet in the forum. Fantastic...
 
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Two wounded ladies, fellows.
It's hard to reconcile the man who wrote "fair stand the fields of France" with the man who wrote Women, which was a cowardly exercise in hitting below the belt.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
I don't blame you - I would feel wounded too if it was me being portraited in that fashion...
 
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It's clear a great portion of Bukowskis persona was fraudulent - in this sense for many writers - experience becomes THE WHORE - that they exploit, embellish, play around with and fabricate.

I often wonder what the lives of deadbeats must look like in comparison to Bukowsksi. I mean those deadbeats who didn't have the intellligence or inclination to write it down. In Glasgow alone I have certainly met homeless men who are far madder, far more lost, infinitely suffering creatures - who well may make Bukowski look like a soft liver.

But then! Let me know forget that I always knew when reading Bukowski he was a sensitive insecure man of the heart. He needed the harshness of the streets as a wall against the vanilla icecream of his soul.


;)
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Mystery Girl & Amber: great posts from both of you. Having had my own encounters with Bukowski, I recognize that you're both telling the truth about him as you know it. A great writer, a flawed man. Some may question why we should want to hear your story. For me, the answer is because you knew him as he really was, and what you can tell us is invaluable information towards understanding the man and his art. Where else can we find this real, first-hand information? Not from a biographer who never met him, not from critics or publishers who only deal with his words. You are primary sources, and living, feeling, thinking beings who have something unique to share about Bukowski. Thank you for sharing it. You could just say "screw it" and clam up, but instead you are willing to be open with us, even when you risk embarrassment and, from some, ridicule and insult. I think you both show a lot of guts and generosity of spirit.
 

Erik

If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
Founding member
Two wounded ladies, fellows.
It's hard to reconcile the man who wrote "fair stand the fields of France" with the man who wrote Women, which was a cowardly exercise in hitting below the belt.
Interesting thread. But let's try to get things straight: two persons are offended by the way they feel they are portrayed in a novel. Or is it the other way round: two persons are offended by the way they are treated in real life? The first situation should be unnecessary, few people will be able to identify them. (Still they feel compelled to identify themselves - is the lure of fame still at work here?) The second situation is more understandable. Nothing to be done about that. Strong and warped personalities like Buk's are bound to leave a wake of hurt behind them. And if you're young and inexperienced its bound to hurt more. You have my sympathy. (You too Rekrab...) On the other hand, a strong, warped personality can leave a lot of warmth and admiration behind as well - Amber mentions "fair stand the fields of france" (did he send that one to you perhaps?). Or what about the poem with the ending lines: "I have been held I have been held" (page 33 WATT). Curious thing.

Personally I always thought the women in Women were caricatures, in a slapstick sort of way. I remember it mostly for its humor, the laughs. And Buk surely seems to treat Chinaski just as bad - or even worse - than the women there, doesn't he? Oh well, haven't read it in a long time - it was my first Buk-book. :)

What this shows - when it comes to writing that is - is the weakness of the "I"-form in literature. I agree with T.S. Eliot who said something like: "Good writing doesn't set strong emotions free, it sets the reader free from strong emotions." Maybe this is why good writers often have a difficult or turbulent past they need to control emotionally. I have no doubt at all that this is one of the key motivations behind Buk's urge to write. Therapy. His strong chiseled line is his way of nailing his feelings down on paper and thus dealing with them. This process tends to be a self-centered one, its true. The magic is when it transforms into something universal - literature (or art, if you prefer). This is where the writer's craft comes in.

The best literature, in my opinion, is the one that explores, forms, shapes and, most importantly, CONTROLS strong emotions. The I-form has a tendency to do the opposite. Its tricky. The Chinaski/I-persona may be one of Buk's weaknesses. It tends to get in the way of his better talents as a writer. Could Women have been written in the third person? Would that have made it better?

Ah well. Interesting thread, whatever the case.
 
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...i dunno man,very interesting yet weird thread here.
I mean, who gave MrBukowski the opportunity to write about you in the first place?
And then you didnt like it....
Why should you?
Most probably he just perceived you different than you perceive yourself, thats quite common.

And the part about his bad bed-performance...i couldnt care less how a writer performs in bed. Thats just entertainment.
Then again, im no woman.

I dont know, but somehow i have these lines spinning in my head:
"not being able to love fully
they will consider your love incomplete
and then.."
 
i agree with a lot of what you said Bright

but i also think the quote you selected
also applies to the writer just as much

it's a double edged blade.


"not being able to love fully
they will consider your love incomplete
and then.."
 
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