Has reading Bukowski changed your personal life? (1 Viewer)

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
Reading Bukowski was for me an important road sign. It has affected me in my art, it brought some light where I couldn't see and words that I would no longer express.

I am sure that most of us have expressed their personal experience one way or the other in various posts but I would like to read them unscattered.
 
That's easy. He has enriched my life immeasurably. I read so much of him during my dark days of aimless depression that I feel I have absorbed him under my skin. His ability to cut his losses and move forward again after personal disaster kept me going. When I felt bad bad bad physically or emotionally - sometimes both together - I found solace and comfort. He was great reading on rainy days, and when I felt good I could see the laughter behind his words. How do you thank a guy like that? I became a better person and had a better understanding of the entire range of human behavior starting with myself. There's a secret source of humanity buried inside all of us, and Bukowski was my secret resource, which none of my closest friends ever knew about, to embrace it all, from the disgusting and the violent to the sublime and exalted - all of which he gave full expression and some of which I found within myself as a musician, writer and human being. In fact, when you love and absorb someone's creative courage to that degree, you don't even have to read him any more - the essence is in your blood and you're free to live. I would wish the same kind of peace to others. Hail to the chief!
 
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bospress.net

www.bospress.net
I came to the small press through Bukowski, so without him I would not have found the small press and would not have started a press. It has become such a large part of me, that I am not sure who I would be without him and the small press.

Bill
 

mjp

Founding member
...when you love and absorb someone's creative courage to that degree, you don't even have to read him any more - the essence is in your blood and you're free to live.
Because...help me out here...someone can't read books and live at the same time?

But apparently you can post to a forum and live?

The internet, man, I'll tell ya. Gotta love technology! Allowing us to really fully live the glorious beauty of this incredible life and still spend all day on a forum!

What peace. What exalted, sublime freedom.


Sorry Black Swan, carry on. I was just so moved by this deep, humane revelation that I had to interject.
 
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Before reading Bukowski I hated everyone, but after that I said, hey I am not alone. There are good people out there! so now I am more selective in hating people. Yeah, other than this, my life is the same shit. I don't really see a change.
 
During my childhood I read 'Hulk'-comics. I expected Hulk to help me, because in my fantasy he was always there. Today it's Hank, who helps me to keep cool during all those difficult and frustrating life situations you walk through, while rejecting the 9to5 nothingness.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
Outside of causing me to spend ungodly amounts of money on Buk related crap... No.

But hell if it isn't enjoyable just the same.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Because Bukowski is so easy to read, I started reading more. At first I read more of he wrote and now I am reading more of everything. But when I read lots of Bukowski I do drink more. And I like what mjp and poptop are writing about. They have such a brilliant interaction.
 
In some ways, finding and reading Bukowski allowed me to forgive myself for all the things I thought I was doing wrong. Growing up I thought I was supposed to love the 9to5 that my Dad did.

Now I know, it's ok to despise the sunrise.
 
During my childhood I read 'Hulk'-comics. I expected Hulk to help me, because in my fantasy he was always there. Today it's Hank, who helps me to keep cool during all those difficult and frustrating life situations you walk through, while rejecting the 9to5 nothingness.

You really shouldn't have to choose between the two.

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I didn't use to read too much, if anything. The school only made me hate it. They were pouring shit into your brain. Like a Romanian writer (Bacovia) once said - "Highschool, cemetery of my youth"; he knew what he was talking about. Me, I didn't know a god damned thing about anything at 18. Went to a technical university only to get away from home. I took my first breath of fresh air when I heard The Doors 15 years ago or so. Then I got into post-punk / industrial - Swans, New Model Army, The Chameleons, Joy Division and all the others... This was/still is the real thing. Great music, great lyrics, great performers. They were alive. Their words meant something. So, discovering Bukowski was the next logical step, I guess, in a world where nothing rhymes. Yes, he changed my life. Still is, as I continue to read his books.
 
Not so much my personal life, but how I perceive writing in general. Not by me, but in terms of books I consider buying. In addition to Buk, I'm a big fan of sea/polar exploration (Scott, Peary, Cook, etc.) and early aviation (Lindbergh, Earhart, etc.), so no influence there; you pretty much have to take what you get.

But in terms of poetry, short stories and novels in Buk's vein; well, I've pretty much given up that. Buk rules. But Buk drew me to Wormwood Review, and that, in turn brought me to Gerald Locklin, David Barker, Lyn Lifshin and writers of similar ilk. So there's been a big influence from Buk. But not so much in how I live. Just in how I read.
 
I used to drink too much; have a lack of respect for authority, government, religion and society in general. And I hate to admit it but I could sometimes be politically incorrect.

Reading Buk has changed all this and I am happy to report that I am now a productive part of society.
 

Ambreen

Sordide Sentimental
I was suffering at law college : It took me three years to realize I did a mistake and would never fulfil myself in a legal career. I didn't know how to tell this to the parents, I easily guessed that it would be the beginning of hard times with them. I myself had a lot of difficulties to admit what was happening to me, considering it as a personal failure, I who had been a self-confident person till then, who had never met any obstacle on my way. The biggest problem was I had no idea of what I could do instead, I thus saw no future anymore. This situation became psychologically unbearable, I broke down and stopped eating. I felt useless and just wanted to disappear in some way or other.
Bukowski's appearance in that tense and confused context turned out to be salutary, he did change the course of my existence, no one has had such a decisive influence on it till now. The first book produced the same effect as an electric shock. Ouch ! It hurt ! But the sensation was far from being disagreeable ! And I laughed, which didn't happen since a long time. I wanted some more electric shocks like this one. As months went by, I had adopted him, he became a kind of ally, the best one, whose words progressively got me out of despondency and helped me to see things more clearly in life in general, then in my own life, to put everything into question and to finally overcome my troubles.
 
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found the first Bukowski books in the library
in the late 70's - autographed ones.
Buk learned me to enjoy poetry -
and that loneliness can be glorious at times

and yes, my son is born Aug 16
 

nervas

more crickets than friends
This is to say that Buk signed books actually ended up in the libraries back in the day? Has anyone else ever come across that?
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
I have a signed hard back of Burning that was once a college library book. It's the regular signed blue spine, not the orange spine library specific edition. The library ticket shows it was only checked out once, in 1973 (and no that wasn't me :D). I guess that if libraries wanted Bukowski or any Black Sparrow books they'd want a hard back, which may have meant buying the signed copies. I wouldn't be surprised if there are still a few knocking around with a sig in the back.
 
it was in a huge german public library,
and I never saw other author signed books there,
apart from Buk's books from the 70s.
Guess the manager was a fan, too.
And please: books don't "end" in such a library.
There was no Internet in these times,
and that library was the window to the world to me, then.
I highly appreciated that.

==>I guess that if libraries wanted Bukowski or any Black Sparrow books they'd want a hard back, which may have meant buying the signed copies.<==
Yes, that might be the reason,
as all Black Sparrow books there had a hard back.
 

Lolita Twist

Rose-hustler
Has Buk changed my personal life since I started reading him?
For some reason upon reading this question, I flashback to my sophomore year in high school, reading Bukowski in the bathroom during my lunch period. Bukowski has given me better conversation with scholars and bums alike. A better understanding of poetry in everyday life, how to find it in the most allegedly-uncommon places. How to occupy my mind with laughter when nothing is funny, and everything is actually quite boring and mundane (in a bad way). Then again... he also influenced my life in a bad way for a period of time. I began to think it was ok and "normal" to be an alcoholic and a writer simultaneously. For me it's just not OK to be an active alcoholic. I thought to drink in excess would make me a better something (which he's always denouncing, eh?). I still think I wrote better when I was actively addicted, but that's neither here nor there (where is it? I don't know).
 
I've been reading this thread since you, Black Swan, started it but couldn't find the right words to express the impact Bukowski had on my personal life.

I can't seem to find them now, but wtf.

When I first picked up a book by him I was nine and he kind of prepared me for a world where sex and money, insanity and cruelty are dominant. I had sensed that before and he gave me a detailed look at how strange grown ups would behave. I read Fuck Machine at that time.

The obscure and bizarre always attracted me, so I went well through his mix of reality and fiction.

To see him suffer as a pus-covered outcast made me feel sympathy and maybe a sort of identification with him, not because of puberty's ugly spots, but because I felt myself alone in welcome darkness among the school kids at my age.

I couldn't (and still can't) relate to the reality whitewash that I noticed first and therefore most intense when I was a kid/teen and having read Bukowski, I knew there were a lot of dirty secrets behind the curtains.

Well, the drinking, I wouldn't say he influenced me there. At thirteen I was already quite a party tiger and ended all mentally fucked up at nineteen as a result of that. Thankfully I didn't become an alcoholic, but the tendency to excess in many ways is part of my nature and nothing I could make Hank responsible for.
 
I thought to drink in excess would make me a better something
That's a great way to put it. I had already realized that booze could grease the wheels, but after reading Bukowski, I thought I could opt out of just about everything but booze and the written word. I didn't go to school, I drank myself silly, I wrote jack shit. I told myself I was just too young to be good, anyway. That someday I'd write great poetry about how I used to write shitty poetry. I told myself that depression was a great experience. I did things I was ashamed of. I probably would have done the same without having read Bukowski, but without the added embarrassment of having to admit that I mis-used Buk's work to justify it all. I tried.

After a particular blackout wherein I thoroughly humiliated myself, I quit drinking. I began to write again after a couple of months, just for myself, just to get it out. Now I drank coffee when I wrote, without thoughts of immortality or audience or of myself as a writer. Now it was just a hobby, and I wasn't trying to be anything but a decent person--someone who could live life without being on the edge of a deep dark hole. I wrote more and more, I started reading at open mics, started to find my voice, quite different from Buk's. THEN I realized what his work was really about.

I started drinking again a year later, off and on but mostly on. But I never looked to anyone else's work or life to model my own after, I never romanticized booze or shitty behavior or paralyzing depression again. I learned that shame has a purpose besides hilighting incidents to one day write about. Ten years later I'm still learning these lessons.

So I guess the answer is yes, in the end Bukowski's work had an impact on my personal life, after I realized that his work was about himself, not me, and that if it 'meant' anything, it was that I needed to be true to myself, if I could just figure out how.
 
Thanks for being open about this. Got something out of every word. Incredible self-honesty in this amazing journey back to self. I liked everything.
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
Then again... he also influenced my life in a bad way for a period of time. I began to think it was ok and "normal" to be an alcoholic and a writer simultaneously. For me it's just not OK to be an active alcoholic. I thought to drink in excess would make me a better something

I read this on another forum the other day:

I've admired his work for a long time but if you emulate Bukowski's lifestyle too much, you'll wake up and wonder why your name is on the liver transplant list.
 

Lolita Twist

Rose-hustler
HAHA! That's gorgeous, who wrote/said that?

And, Jane's, beautiful words that have me nodding my head all by myself here. I think I still romanticize it, though maybe that's just my way. At least I'm not blacking out and developing harmful lady-cysts anymore.

And let me just say... for me, seeing the world sober is much more depressing than seeing it with beer-goggle-laser-vision. But I'm funnier, drier. Which is more for me than it is for others, so, at last, I'm comfortable in being the chain-smoking, caffeine-pumped, sober cunt I am.
 
Thanks, Lolita. I guess you could say I still romanticize it some, but my vision is much wider now. the world makes me sad and frustrated, but drinking too much makes me clinically depressed. When I first started drinking, a senior in high school, Nothing's Shocking was just out and I'd demand my guitar-playing friend play Jane Says at every party. I can't sing a note, but I loved to holler "she can't hit!" at the top of my lungs.
 

Lolita Twist

Rose-hustler
This will sound overly fangirlish...

I DO THAT AT THE SONG TOO! TO THIS DAY!

/end enthusiasm.

That being said, Jane Says is still probably my favorite song. From Jane's, and probably of everyone else, too. I must have every version of it. Steel Drums, for the win.
 

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