Amber O'Neil - Blowing My Hero

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jordan

lothario speedwagon
Over 1000 posts
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
Over 1000 posts
maybe he was worried it would tarnish bukowski's image :rolleyes:
 

mjp

A stranger in your land
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You're joking, but I think you're right.
 

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
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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"
Over 5000 posts
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"
Over 5000 posts
I don't blame you - I would feel wounded too if it was me being portraited in that fashion...
 
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Olaf

Over 100 posts
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.
Over 1000 posts
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
Over 1000 posts
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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bright

Over 100 posts
...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.."
 

Olaf

Over 100 posts
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.."
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Over 5000 posts
Well, you don't expect to be a character in a book just because you visit a writer...
 
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One time I remember reading that Truman Capote made the mistake of writing about the "ladies who lunch" crowd that he had made friends with.
Their response was to shut him out, blacklist him, hurt him. They could do that because they had tremendous wealth and power. Speaking only for myself, I have never had that power. There was no way to defend myself.
I was drawn to this man, not because I was a young woman on top of the world...I was drawn to his pain just like many people are, because of my own pain. It hurt, without comparison, to read about myself that way, even if it was a caricature.
This forum has been one of the few places in 30 years that I have found a place to talk about this with people who are somewhat interested. So few of us have the talent and skill to put our sadness out there for the world to see, as he did. I have appreciated this forum immensely as a place to share. I'm a little afraid to post now for fear of the "looking for fame" angle that Erik mentioned. Believe me, I am completely aware that I am a very very minor figure in the life of Gramps. He just happened to like my first ietter to him enough not to throw in the wastebasket! With special thanks to MJP for the hard work he has put in to pull this forum together.
 

mjp

A stranger in your land
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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?)
Few people outside of this site maybe, but there are discussions of which real person is which character for both Women and Hollywood here, and anyone who saw Amber in the extras of Born Into This knows who she is.

To say they are anonymous in the grand scheme of things may be true, to say they are anonymous to people who have a deeper than normal interest in Bukowski is not. And who else would care about what he wrote in Women?

I have appreciated this forum immensely as a place to share. I'm a little afraid to post now for fear of the "looking for fame" angle that Erik mentioned. Believe me, I am completely aware that I am a very very minor figure in the life of Gramps. He just happened to like my first ietter to him enough not to throw in the wastebasket!
The beauty and drawback of a public forum is that people like you can provide us with great personal memories, but when you do you are open to the response which is unpredictable, and can be harsh.

There isn't any parallel experience in real life, because in real life people will rarely say anything really insulting to your face. Those who do are rare, and most people don't particularly want to be around them.

But a forum like this can't really function if it is censored either, so we have to let people express their opinions, good or bad. You have to grow a thick skin when you put yourself out there in these kinds of places. Otherwise it can be a traumatic experience.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, keep posting and don't worry about less-than-favorable feedback. What you have to say is valuable, as David pointed out. First hand experience is something that few people are willing to share. Keep sharing.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Over 5000 posts
I guess what I'm trying to say is, keep posting and don't worry about less-than-favorable feedback. What you have to say is valuable, as David pointed out. First hand experience is something that few people are willing to share. Keep sharing.
I couldn't agree more! - Keep posting Amber...
 
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mystery girl

Founding member
This is so interesting! Amber, you are very articulate; and I wish I had not stayed away for so long. I welcome opinions; and you are so right, MJP. I don't feel hurt and sorrow for what happened at all - well, when it first happened, sure. Then I put it all in a box and forgot about it. When I found all the letters a couple of years ago, it made me remember everything. I was not upset by the end of this (?) relationship with Hank. I was 25 years old and rarin' to go. You know? But, yes, I felt humiliated and disgusted by what he said that wasn't true (sorry, but it wasn't his perception, it was a lie) especially after he had captured some very real things about me. I actually liked the first part of it. The reason I wrote that he could not perform was not to have a rapt audience, but to, well, explain that he couldn't possibly say what he said about me with any knowledge since NOTHING was able to happen! Yes, it's defensive. God, I've wanted to say all that I've written here for 30 years. It's like being accused of a crime and you know you're innocent. I'm an Unknown in his life and I thank God for that. Only a few friends know and you guys, and it's all OK, whatever you think or say. Even if you completely disagree with me. Because we are a little group here and we're specific, and it's so cool to be able to speak about him. It blows me away how much you all know about him. I feel very grateful to be a part of this.
 
Mystery Girl, your spunk and honesty are very much appreciated. You have every right to be extremely pissed off at what was written about you, if it is the passage I am thinking of. I remember at the time thinking, "holy smokes, this is COMPLETELY uncalled for." And, I didn't believe a word of it. I'm proud of you for your responses here. In the long run, I hope this helps both of us, as well as adds something to this forum! My daughter says, "Mom, why can't you join a forum about planting crocuses in Berkeley!" Given my less than thick skin, maybe she's right! Take care, and I'm so happy you have written.
 
Amber and mystery girl- I must say I appreciate your contributions to this thread and the added depth to the work of Bukowski (at least WOMEN and associated poems).

But I must say, I have been lurking here for a while and am confused as to your concerns...are you really so appalled at being characters (or caricatures) in a novel, a work of fiction? Isn't it clear in most, if not all of his work he has taken elements of his life and expanded, extrapolated and fictionalized on?

Why does his depiction of you as different from life characters cause you such angst, especially years later? So his characterization of your encounters are not true to life? Does this really bother you?

I am not trying to be mean, I am merely trying to understand your concern.

A fictionalized representation of me would merely draw a laugh from myself, no matter the deprevity of the characterization. So Bukowski presented you other than as you saw yourself? What is the big deal? I have a couple of ex-wifes that would just as distinctly represent me in a bad light. So what? If they did so in a publish work in which I was indistinguishable as an individual except to myself I would only laugh.

Is your indignation perhaps rather a wrongly perceived valuation of your own experience? Did you perhaps conceive of your experiences in a manner that was not supported by Bukowski? Perhaps even challenged by his fictionalized presentations?

Once again, I do not mean to insult. Only to wonder why his representation of your encounters bothers you. So he presented characters that, while based on you, are not real? Again, so what?

Had you not self-identified yourselves here or elsewhere (especially you Amber), none would be the wiser. I assumed, prior to this thread and others in this forum, that the women in that novel were not real, but merely constructs and montages of encounters he had had. I still believe that. It was a work of fiction, after all.

Your indignation and concern seems to be rather an affront you feel toward his lack of valid recognition of your character. But then, he had no interest in doing so. Perhaps you had such an interest. I can not say, nor do I wish to speculate.

I am merely asking.
 

roni

Over 5000 posts
Come on, cheapGin,
talking about EMOTIONS, HURT FEELINGS, etc you cannot claim for objectivity. I think it is fully understandable, that, when you go, meet you 'literary hero', spend time with him, and then find yourself described by him in a way, that shows all things way different from what you where expereriencing/thinking/feeling about it - this DOES hurt!

sure, on the other hand, you're right mentioning, that becoming part of a literary work ('work of fiction'), should help you see it under this different viewpoint. As I said before, it was at least due to dramaturgic reasons, he 'had' to make some things up.

Still, I see the point of the person, who's painted this way.

Amber, Mysty, I am, like we all are, so happy you are here and talk firsthand of your experiences!
THANKS SO MUCH!

(Sure, becoming part of an author's work is no new problem. Amber already mentioned the troubles Capote had. We all know, Hem caused A LOT of these troubles, so did Shakespeare, so did Aristophanes - and that's twoandahalf millenniums ago. Dealing with artists will always result in such things. They take a part of our world and create something new... - and to cheapGin: I'd rather be painted by an artist than by some of my ex-girlfriends. So, maybe you're the one of us, with the most guts.)
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Over 1000 posts
Something to bear in mind: being criticised, ridiculed, embarassed, attacked (whichever it happens to be) in public, in print, is much more painful than when it's done in private. And it doesn't go away. You may get over the hurt but the thing that makes you feel wronged is out there forever, and comes back to remind you over and over. If that hasn't happened to you, you really can't imagine what it feels like. It's overwhelming. What may sound like whining is really just someone seeking some measure of justice and validation.
 
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