Reading Buk while depressed? (1 Viewer)

I probably shouldn't have used the word depressed, actually. But I seem to read him a bit more when I'm in some kind of funk. Anyone else? Sorry for the weak thread. I'm just curious. Thanks.
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
It's not a weak thread.

I'm quoting:

ON DEPRESSION (9-6-92)

you and me are lucky that we found buk in our young 20's----I can tell you, as a 51 year old----and even now----when I get the lowest depressions--- I open a buk book of poems and read ANY POEM--- and it UPLIFTS me.

every fucking time.

© Steve Richmond
 
I'm in a constant state of depression.
depression has been given such an ugly definition.
we are not meant to be happy all the time.
embrace that depression. love the depression.
feel the depression.

it's when you stop feeling anything, that's when your fucked.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
The only thing I wouldn't recommend reading while depressed is Ham on Rye... I finished the last 100 pages in about 2 hours early in the AM after a long battle with insomnia and was down for weeks.

But I gotta agree with Steve Richmond... his poetry always gets me up.
 

Johannes

Founding member
He's not the only one who lifts you up in depression, but certainly one of the best.

I made an interesting observation in another field: I worked for two summers in a factory producing, errrm, shower cubicles (?) - and related stuff. It was a typical summer-holiday-whatever job, only for a couple of months and I knew I wouldn't do it forever and not even very long so no tragedy there to compare.

But it was - in parts - a sort of "tough job" of the kind B. wrote a lot about. You had to be there at 5.am, doing a monotonuos, tiring and sometimes physically exhausting thing (like lifting heavy glass plates) for 8 or 9 hours every day in a huge, crowded, noisy factory building without ever seeing the daylight.

When I came home each day I really felt sucked dry, you know, spiritually, as shitty as that term might be. I've always been an avid reader, since childhood, and so in the evenings, lying around and knowing that tomorrow is going to be the very same like today and the day after tomorrow etc. I tried to pick up some books for entertainment but they all fell out of my hand. They all seemed boring, flat and senseless to me and I felt I was really wasting the few hours I had til I'd have to get up and go to work again.

I'd had read almost everything from B. until then but I started all over again. He was virtually and almost the only one I could read during this time, probably because he wrote so much about it himself in such an, errrrm, touching yet funny way and sort of, errrrm, "made it out" of there. I could relate in some very new sense, you know.

So this is my horrible and awful middle-classe-holiday-job-suffering-story. Pity me. But I wonder if some of you made a similar experience? When reading really seems to make no sense at all because of shitty conditions, B. still cuts through. And almost as the only one.
 
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nervas

more crickets than friends
I agree. I read BUK all the time as far as moods go. Happy, sad, depressed, at home, at work, in planes and anywhere else I can. Yet, he seems to be the only one that I read when depressed. I can read anything I have an interest in while happy. For example, I'll read just about anything, a book on California, or a book about Michael Jordan. But when depressed I can't get through 2 pages of anything BUT BUK. I think, maybe as you said above, he just cuts through the B.S. so well, that it seems to hit me right where I need it every time! Fighting with the girlfriend usually, all pissed off, I'll go and sit on the living room couch, pick up a BUK book, and ten minutes later she'll come into the room, "what the hell are you laughing at!"
 
Anyone who can stick a factory job deserves to be respected. My old man's been doing on the production line for thirty odd years, how he stays sane God only knows. I'm like you Johannes I've only done a few temporary assignments in factories and the jobs just sucked the life out of me. Having said that I've also done years in call centres and then work is equally as exhaustive, mentally rather than physically, but it still leaves you zombified, you just about have enough energy to nosh in front of the TV.

Bukowski is the one author who sums up the plight of the working man. Although in fairness he also describes unemployment pretty well, making him vital reading during the recession.
 
I like Buk when I'm down. I especially like watching interviews with him. It's cool to see someone who never wavered from his "less-than-rosy" viewpoint of the world around him. He took on the ugliness of life head-on, wrestled it's beastly ass to the ground and came out the victor. You won't find those kind of results in any lame-ass, positive thinking, pop psychology self help books out there today.
 

Johannes

Founding member
Anyone who can stick a factory job deserves to be respected. My old man's been doing on the production line for thirty odd years, how he stays sane God only knows.

I think so too. There was the usual percentage of assholes there, you know, playing great, yelling around, telling awful jokes and how great they were etc. while really being unbearable to any sane sense of feeling altogether. But most of them were, as far as I can tell, hard working non-bullshit type of people who quietly did their work, day after day.

In fact, one guy really never spoke a word to anyone. He was about fifty, white hair, bearded, a rather short and heavy built chain smoker. At first I thought he was pissed off or something, because he simply pointed at things, never said hello etc. But he seemed friendly enough. I'd worked standing next to him for about three weeks until I learned that he was a deaf-mute!

There was a lot bukowskian (bukowskieske?) stuff in there.
 
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nervas

more crickets than friends
Well, I have had some tough times lately. Financially and personally. The last Buk book I read was Post Office for the book club here.(By the way what happened to the book club?) Anyway, I'm thinking I better head home after work today and crack open a Buk book, since as I said in an earlier statement, he's the only author I can read in these times!
 

mjp

Founding member
The book club needed to be restructured (or de-structured) so we took it down for the time being.
 
Nervas; sorry to hear about your tough times. If there's any way you can swing the rent while keeping your Beatles set, do so; you won't regret the brilliance of those recordings. But food and rent come first, of course.

My understanding on the Book Club is that it got off on the wrong foot and was put on temporary hold.

As for reading Buk when depressed; hell, I don't read jack shit when I'm depressed. No one else's experiences can ease mine. It just doesn't work that way for me.
 

nervas

more crickets than friends
Thanks for the words. Yeah, it's hard reading at times like this, but Buk still makes me laugh during said time.

I'm pretty sure I'm keeping the box set, paying the rent and bouncing the credit card payment. I feel bad, but I can't count the number of changes this economy has put my job/pay through, so not much choice.
 
Well, if you want to laugh, stick to the novels (except for Pulp, which isn't as funny as the rest) and perhaps All the Assholes... from South of No North. There are a good number of funny poems, but they are truly scattered.
 

nervas

more crickets than friends
I think after just discovering today, the thread where mystery girl told her story... I will now read "Women" for the, I don't know, I believe 9th time. HOWEVER, according to my journal(or as my girlfriend calls it, "my stupid gay teenage diary") I have not read "Women" since 2003. So onward I go....
 
i was deeply depressed in my late teens. discovering buke at 17 was eye-opening, galvanic: i was not alone! someone else understood the fundamental fakery of life, the role-playing that most people happily traded away their Selves for, the herd instinct that predominates in humanity... so, yes, buke is ok anytime, but especially when caught up in the deep deep blues...
 
In my experience when the depression hits it's writers like Buk that keep me a float. Reading some Fante, Buk, or listening to Dylan never fail to snap me out of it. However low I feel, however worthless it all feels hearing these guys just awakens something inside - every time. A bit of them each day is like a splash of water in your face. It may just be words in a book, or a simple melody but somehow those words work so well together it reverberates in you for days. Which is why I never go long with out these three.
 
I was only open to reading Bukowski when I thought I had lost everything. It's not true for everyone I'm sure, but I do wonder whether you have to have known real disappointment, disappointment that seems unassaugable, or disappointment that seems as though it could echo through to the end of your life, before he fully clicks with you.

It's no exaggeration to say that this writer saved my life. I'm not sure whether I'd say he stopped me from committing suicide, but I know he stopped me from regretting the fact that I wasn't going to commit suicide. He reminded me of a faith I'd lost in the endurance of what for want of a better term I'll call 'sensibility'. The capacity to remain an artist, to think as an artist, whatever horror blasts your quotidian life. The capacity to take that horror and turn it to strength, without becoming part of the horror; to pit your mind/heart/soul against it and make art of it.
 

esart

esart.com
Founding member
He puts me in better control of my depression, and gives me reason to relish it instead of it killing me.
 
Reading Buk while depressed reminds me that he's been through it, and worse, himself. His stuff inspires me to keep reading and writing.
 
If someone is in deep trouble and depressed and reads Buk, than Buk tells:" I've been in even worse situations and look at me, I survived thanks to humor and rational thinking and little bit of poetry..."
 

nervas

more crickets than friends
Well, to finish my thoughts on the subject, I finished reading Women a couple of days ago and once again I'll say, Buk is the only one I can come close to reading during shit times.
 

Lolita Twist

Rose-hustler
Depression is part of the human condition. We are happy, sad, in the middle. We laugh, we cry, we blank-stare. We do all of this, as well, while reading Bukowski. Reading Bukowski for 15 minutes is somewhat like recounting life's emotions in a 15-minute span. They're usually all there, accurately portrayed, perversely or not.

EDIT: In the movie Shrink with Kevin Spacey... a up-and-coming screen-writer hands over his script to a producer. The producer asks, "is it a comedy, drama, what?" Kid says, "Life is neither."
 
Factotum is my first choice as literaray prozac.
It seems he had hit rock bottom during that period and still saw the humour in it. We can all learn a little from that.
Besides, depression is just anger without enthusiasm.
 

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