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Blowing My Hero

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mjp

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As you may or may not know, Blowing My Hero is the story of Amber O'Neil's visit to Los Angeles in the 1970's to meet Bukowski. 500 copies of the memoir were printed, but when John Martin of Black Sparrow Press saw the book, he forbid Amber from distributing it, because it contained a few Bukowski letters in the appendix, and he would not give her permission to publish the letters. (UPDATE: Correspondence between Martin and Amber seems to contradict this. It would appear that he did give her permission to sell the existing copies, he just asked her not to publish any additional copies.)

Consequently, very few copies of this book reached the public. When you do find one, the price is typically steep. Currently there is ONE copy for sale on abebooks.com for $224. In 8 years I've seen the book come up on eBay only twice, and both times it sold for well over $100.

Read Amber's story of how the book came to be, and it's suppression by Black Sparrow.

The few copies that were distributed have "grayish lavender" covers. But according to Amber there is another cover color. "They called me part way through the job and said they had run out of the grayish lavendar card stock. I said, 'well, just choose some other cardstock and finish the job.' So there are actually two colors in print."

There are some copies of the book - with the appendix letters removed - available. This is the complete memoir (again, minus the letters), in the never before seen "dark rust" covers.

Since the letters have been removed, these are selling for a very reasonable price. This could very well be the only time this version of the book sees the light of day, so if you are interested in picking up a copy of this rare book, click here to send me a private message (these are long gone - 12/31/10) and I'll give you the low down.
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
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It seems I'm just too late.

I have a nice correspondence with Amber. Usually I don't react at all to greedy postings, so called collectors. I sent her her a pm tonight, to take it easy. To get to the point, I am writing an essay for the German yearbook. Amber and I alread discussed my topic and she is positive about it, so am I:)

Amber want to help me to write my essay, and agreed just to make a scan of her real story and I am free to use parts of it. I just want to make clear here that I think some people pushed her to make a decision. It's a shame, because we could also drop her real story here after my essay would be published in the German yearbook.

I want to make clear I will not receive any royalties from the German Bukowski society. Some things you just want to do without dollar sings in your eyes.

But of course, let Amber just, w'll see.

Ponder.
 

mjp

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Too late for what?

You really need to slow down and get a grip, son. You're completely missing the point, which is to make the book available to people who want to read it.

A "greedy collector with dollar signs in their eyes" would have zero interest in the book with the letter pages chopped out. This is for people who want to read the story and do not care about the "collectability" of the book.

If the greed and dollar sign comments are aimed at me, you don't have any idea of what you're talking about. You should ask a question or two before you climb up onto that high horse of yours and look down at everyone.
 

Rekrab

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I doubt that anyone here intended to pressure Amber into releasing copies of her book. If she felt that way, I apologize for my role in creating that impression. I think it's just a matter of several of us being thrilled to have her posting here and enthusiastically discussing the issues and possibilities related to her book. Amber, you seem like a very nice, thoughtful person, and I think we are lucky to have you answering our questions and tolerating our obsessiveness when it comes to Bukowski.

Collectors are a strange breed. Most are very fussy and only want perfect copies of rare books, others are okay with lesser condition copies, and then there are a few that actually like beat up, messed up copies of stuff. Some of us care about the value of the book, some don't. Aside from wanting to read a book, there's something about having the physical artifact in your mitts that makes a few of us desire even ruined copies of sought after books.

Anyway, it's been an exciting thread and I hope Amber will keep posting here and putting up with our craziness. Thanks, Amber.
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
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I read both postings.

And no, mjp, the comments are not aimed to you.

Like I said, let Amber judge, although I mispelled the word the first time.
 

chronic

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Usually I don't react at all to greedy postings, so called collectors.
I take exception to that. I collect Bukowski but I don't consider myself greedy. Most of what goes in my collection stays there unless I upgrade it to a nicer copy. I don't buy with an eye towards what's going to increase in value so that I can sell it later. I collect things that I like, that I want to have, and that I want to keep (and that I can afford at the time). I have, from time to time, made money from items in my collection that I was willing to part with at the time, but I don't see that as a bad thing. The money came in handy for me and another collector got something of value to add to his or her collection.

Collecting books is a kind of hobby, and sometimes an obsession, but in and of itself it has no more to do with greed than building models or collecting stamps. Sure, it's nice to have something in your collection increase in dollar value but for most collectors I don't think that is the primary consideration when they make a purchase.
 

hoochmonkey9

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I'm glad collectors sell; otherwise I wouldn't have 89% of the stuff I have.
 

mjp

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Ha - damn, that's a pretty specific percentage. But you're right.
 

Rekrab

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I'm curious to see what she has to say. Amber has been straightforward and thoughtful in her posts on this Forum. She seems like a good person. And, she had firsthand experience with Bukowski.
 

Domator

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I only hope that international shipping will be possible (and that Amber will accepted Wester Union or something like that) because i want order it. Why? I think that Amber posts on this forum a nice story about her book, and just want to know all the story.
 

HenryChinaski

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yeah I'd like to read the memior too but I'm not going to shell out hundreds of dollars to do so. its totally absurd to pay that much for something like that. well, no, I'm sure I'm wrong but thats just how i see it. I guess I be more apt to get my hands on a copy of it if i wasnt so poor.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
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I only hope that international shipping will be possible because i want order it.
Me too! I would'nt wanna miss out on Ambers memoir. I'm sure it's gonna be an interesting read...
 
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mjp

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yeah I'd like to read the memior too but I'm not going to shell out hundreds of dollars to do so.
This version with the Bukowski letters removed is not hundreds of dollars, it's under $20.
 

mjp

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Okay, the shipping has been worked out for the book, and the price is $15 postpaid if you want to send cash or a money order (no personal checks, thanks), or $15.80 if you want to pay with PayPal. That is for addreses in the US, Canada or Europe. If you are somewhere else, let me know.

Remember, this is the "customized" legal version the book with the Bukowski letters removed, not a collector's-quality investment grade showpiece that you'll need to store in your underground vault.

This is not an ongoing offer. It's a one-time deal. So if you're interested send me a private message NOW for details on how to submit payment. Once we close out this offer (soon), that's it. Don't snooze and miss it.
 
I IM you a few times, but no reply. Maybe you are pissed at the very "dark" picture I left on your windshield, or you hate me just because I am beautiful.
 

mjp

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PM, not IM, ya dig? I need to keep track of these things...
 

mjp

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Is that it? Everyone who wants in is in?

Going once...
 

mjp

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Closing orders for this on Sunday night (5/6/07), so if you're interested, jump on it before then.
 

Rekrab

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mjp: it would be cool if Amber signed the sanitized copies. Just because they're mutilated doesn't mean we won't treasure them.
 

1fsh2fsh

I think that I think too much
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oh yes, that would be special, whadaya think?, please?......
 

mjp

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I assume she will, but that's up to her. I'll make a note of it on the address list.
 

jordan

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don't worry henry, we'll summarize it for you.

damn it feels good to be one of the cool kids.
 

Gerard K H Love

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I may not matter, but having someone who may have been fictionalized in a story send their version to the readers is a distortion of the writers art. I only started to read Bukowski last Christmas. His work and art have gotten me to read. I am on his 6th book. That's nice that Amber pleasured the esteemed authur, but we have read the story. Thank you and have a nice day.
 

Gerard K H Love

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This is a great thing this Bukowski Net Cult, I feel I am with friends. Yet I may be in for a wild mean ride.
Thank you Dear Ponder
 

Ponder

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I guess you don't know the background about the Amber threads. Time to hit the sack.
 

mjp

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I may be in for a wild mean ride.
A mean ride? No.

But you are kind of pontificating and passing judgement on someone who was posting here before you even knew who Bukowski was. That's going to rub some people the wrong way.
 
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