Amber O'Neil - Blowing My Hero

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Thanks, Jack. I'm picking myself up off the floor, and trying not to feel like a girl in Junior High! Believe me, it's been several decades since those days!
I'm happy you enjoyed the posts. The entire episode was such a strange situation to be in...for example, I didn't feel like I should call this hero of mine, Hank, so I stuck to Mr. Bukowski or Grandfather! Under the circumstances, that was pretty funny!
 

Petey

Over 100 posts
... found all this wildly interesting. Especially that a "real" character is posting... and I wouldn't worry too much about what people say, Amber. Ugly, not ugly, who gives a sh*t? Have to watch that movie and read that book now... although I have to think that his books would have been much better if he had used some of the icons on this site ;)
your words are my words-nothing more to say.
Thanks Amber from my side also for posting here and good luck to you
and your family.
 
... found all this wildly interesting. Especially that a "real" character is posting... and I wouldn't worry too much about what people say, Amber. Ugly, not ugly, who gives a sh*t? Have to watch that movie and read that book now... although I have to think that his books would have been much better if he had used some of the icons on this site ;)
Hi Jack,
Glad you found these posts interesting. Me too! Still just a little sad to get hit below the belt, when, for once in my life, I really took a chance when I finally went down to L.A. to meet my hero in person. I thought he was funny, wise, cool, kind and sexy. And, when he walked, he was tall and impressive. Of course, I was 4 ft, 11 1'2 inches tall and weighed 96 lbs, so just about anyone seemed tall, but certainly not impressive as he was! Take care! Amber

your words are my words-nothing more to say.
Thanks Amber from my side also for posting here and good luck to you
and your family.
Petey, I'm sorry. I meant to reply to your post, thanking you, etc. and instead wrote two replies to Jack! Getting old, or something!
 
Well, Amber, it's certainly an experience that most of us don't ever have - meeting and spending time with a hero... although a lot of writers seem to meet at least one of their influences at some point; unfortunately mine are all dead...
 

Domator

Founding member
Over 100 posts
The few times I've seen it sold it has been in the $100 range, and that was a few years ago, so I don't think Born Into This has anything to do with it. (...) Note that the one on ABE is #71.
I saw #71 on eBay. $220 :)

By the way, Amber, your story is very interesting, thanks!
 

roni

Over 5000 posts
Amber, you shouldn't give Anything on what somebody may have said here before your appearance (the 'ugly-not-ugly'-thing), b/c fans of somebody always tend to refuse everything critical on 'their heroes' (till they come to know the 'other side').
I'm sure the 'ugly'-claim wasn't even meant. It was just a sort of defending his hero. (that's only a guess, sure.)

Another thing - concerning 'Tanja' in 'Women':
I just started to re-read this sequence, since I didn't have a bad rememberance of the 'Tanja-character' in the book and was wondering, what would be so offending for the 'real person' behind it.

Maybe I'd be offended too, if it was me.
But don't think, it was written Against You as a person. Just realize that the episode takes place at the very end of the book and thus HAD to be (for reasons of dramaturgy) soaked with the dis-satisfaction of the main-character with this kind of life, changing partners and all that. The end was aimed: To Stop this and 'get into the harbor'.
So - besides personal feelings - it was necessary in terms of drama to talk this episode down. Try see it in this way. I'm pretty much sure, he didn't want to hurt your or any feelings.
In terms of art, he was not doing very wrong.

In terms of human behaviour, he made the same mistake as Hem did, when using friends for his art. But Maybe we (the mortals) have to take that and be happy to be able to contribute to ARTS in any way. And the way, you were immortilized, wasn't the worst one.
Just a drunken thought.
 
Hi Roni,

You are kind and probably right. In fact, in the preface to my little memoir, I said that I forgave Bukowski for any sad feelings that I felt over some of his comments, because he gave me a great experience too. As I mentioned, in reality, he was so kind to me that 3 day weekend. I knew he felt bad about being so called "ugly" and I told him that I thought he was very handsome. That was the truth! To me, he was handsome! He said, "you're one hellofa women!" Sigh!! Take care, Roni. All the nice comments have more than made up for Zoomman's remark.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Over 1000 posts
Amber: here's a crazy idea. If the Bukowski letters you quote in BLOWING MY HERO are all at the end (or in a clump together someplace in the book) you might consider taking some copies and (gulp!) CUTTING OUT THE BUKOWSKI LETTERS, and then selling your memoir alone, without the letters. The copyright restriction applies only to Buk's words, not your own writing. I, for one (and I might be alone here on this) would buy a copy of that mutilated memoir for, say, $10, even though it would pain me to see the hole where the letters had been. Just a crazy thought. No doubt all will think me looney for even suggesting this desecration. But what other way can you legally distribute your memoir? Give it some thought. It doesn't need to be all copies. 20 or so copies would satisfy some of us on this forum who want to read your book. Think of it as being like a "shot Marilyn" by Warhol. Hell, it might even become a collector's item in its own right.
 

mjp

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

That's almost as bad as suggesting that perfectly intact versions could be sold through some third party, somewhere in the dark back alleys of the world wide internet, away from prying eyes! For, you know, scholarly research and such.

And I, for one, would never dream of proposing such a thing to her in a million years! It would just be wrong, wrong, wrong!

Wouldn't it?

Yes. Yes, I think that would be wrong.

So wrong.

So don't talk about it here. I will not be part of any such scheme!
 

chronic

old and in the way
Over 1000 posts
That's almost as bad as suggesting that perfectly intact versions could be sold through some third party, somewhere in the dark back alleys of the world wide internet, away from prying eyes! For, you know, scholarly research and such.

And I, for one, would never dream of proposing such a thing to her in a million years! It would just be wrong, wrong, wrong!
Shame on you for even thinking of such a heinous and dastardly plot! Ecco would be seriously hurt by their lost profits, and we don't want to hurt anyone, now do we?
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Over 1000 posts
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

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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.
Over 1000 posts
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.
 

Olaf

Over 100 posts
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
Over 100 posts
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

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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
Over 100 posts
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
Over 100 posts
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!!
 

xxedgexx

Over 100 posts
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.
Over 1000 posts
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.
Over 1000 posts
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
Over 5000 posts
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
Over 1000 posts
what was Martin's beef about Jim Christy's book? is the letter that Brother Shenker referred to readable anywhere?
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Over 1000 posts
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.
 
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