The Charles Bukowski Tributes - number 1 (1 Viewer)

stavrogin, you need to give your postman a few bottles of wine during the holidays. My postman, sometimes climbs 4 flights of stairs to deliver the books that don't fit in the mailbox. Or, he rings the bell and I meet him halfway.
Well, I'm pleased you dug it up. Don't be stingy with those files when Purple Glow comes a-calling again in the future. [...]

Oh, I won't be stingy. I have lots of unpublished work. I've always been a lethal combination of very busy and very lazy, so I send out almost nothing -- usually only when someone asks me directly, or if I see a promising call for submissions someplace like this. Of course, most of the unpublished stuff isn't about Bukowski. You'd have to read about people driving me nuts at work or something equally banal.

I've been meaning to come back and brag about this for a bit...

Great read David! And a beautiful production over all.
Thanks, LickTheStar. I see you are not all that far from me geographically. If I wasn't such a homebody recluse lazy ass, I'd come up to Portland for various literary events, but I am, so it might be a while before we connect. But I'm sure we'll meet up at something or other.
It would definitely be cool. But I'm the same way, moreso since my son was born. But I did go out to take a letterpressing class last weekend and it was kind of nice, so I'm hoping to get out to more artsy fartsy stuff soon.

Keep up the good work!
I've thought about taking a letterpress class but it would mean driving to Portland, which I do now and then, when forced. If you're looking for stuff to print, don't forget your fellow Oregonians. Just kidding. Portland is packed with writers. You don't need to look South. But if you come up short and need a poem or two...
Portland is only 45 minutes away from Salem! C'mon, guys. I drive 200 miles a day. I'll drive 45 miles for a good meal. My sales territory of about 120 miles in any direction from where I live.

After driving like this for a while, i don't even consider it a long drive until it is more than a couple hours away.
But Bill, you are a fairly normal person, aside from the printing obsession. I have to force myself to go downtown for events, a five minute drive. It's not just the drive, it's the social effort, strange circumstances, unfamilar people and places. So much easier to just hunker down in the command bunker, watching the flickering screens.
I meant that in a metaphorical sense. I don't have an actual command bunker, and the only thing that's literally flickering is the cable tv. But I'm a survivalist recluse in spirit.
I meant that in a metaphorical sense. I don't have an actual command bunker, and the only thing that's literally flickering is the cable tv.
I know. I just wanted to see the room where you write and the view.

I remember the video, I believe you uploaded it a few years ago, right?

I have something with writers and their rooms...saw the room of Buk in San Pedro in 1987? when the Belgian guy interviewed him.

fear and madness

barricaded here on the 2nd floor
chair against the door
butcher knife on table
I type my first poem here
switchblade in pocket
I type this
for my tax accountant
for the girls in Omaha
for my tax accountant
for the girls in Ohio
for my tax accountant
I am broke again
I own ¼ of this house
I have a pear tree
I have a lemon tree
I have a fig tree
everybody is worried about my soul now
I am worried about my soul now
there is a balcony outside of this room
I can step out on that balcony and see the harbor
I will get drunk tonight and step out there
maybe I can fall off that balcony
and I can write about that
if I don't break my fingers and arms.

this is good no matter what they say
I have written east Hollywood to death
now I am going to write about San Pedro
I have fallen into a new arena.

"tell Chinaski welcome to suburbia,"
some body told my girlfriend
and I said, "my suburbia tells her suburbia to
go to hell."

San Pedro I will wring you out like a wet rag
San Pedro I will break you like a wild stallion
I will write about your bridge and your ships
I will skin your people down to the bone
I will make my stand here as I have made my stand elsewhere.
I will learn these walls
I will attempt to pay the mortgage
I will feed my cat
I will love my woman
I will listen to Elgar, Stravinsky and Mozart.
I will think of Henry Miller using mouth wash.
I will use all 3 bathrooms
both bedrooms
and the electric oven.

I can fail in many more ways now
I was always good at that.

the plumbing is of copper
and the typer is of me
and there's enough ground out front to live off of,
that is, if I can get my ass out of this chair.

barricaded here on the 2nd floor
I am in a small room again.

© Charles Bukowski
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Ha! Thanks, Bill. He's a hoarder!!:)
Well, let's just say I'm part of a family of hoarders. Most of that gear is not mine. But, yeah, we're guilty.

Well it seems as if David has some paranormal activity issues, wasn't expecting that one.
Definitely. I'm spooked. There's a reason I wrote 80 horror stories in the decade 1985 -1995. And then there are my UFO writings. The little chapbook of poems printed with rubber type that I'm now working on is called "ghost". I had a story in ZYGOTE IN MY COFFEE titled "Cordial Spirits," about a literary ghost. It's a recurring theme.

Ponder, yes, that video has been up for a couple years. It's gotten far more views than anything else I have on Youtube. I've had some hostile comments on it. Jokers calling me a hippie, etc. Whatever. I kind of like that video, it's so unplanned. I just walked around the upstairs, talking about our ghost, and it is what it is. I should do a follow up on that.
I should do a follow up on that.

Please do. Your house has that deeply rooted lived in look to it - comfortable and warm. Can't blame a ghost for taking a shine to it. I tend to move every 3 to 5 years and honestly desire to set the stakes permanently some time soon. No ghosts in my temp spots - perhaps they are sadly misunderstood guests.
If I do a follow-up video, the rooms will look different. Well, at least the one the video starts in will. We move around inside the house, which is easier than moving from house to house, and the decor and use of any one room changes fairly often. The ghost was here when we moved in. It feels like it's been here a while. The house is a century old. It is a very comfortable house except you are likely to bump into things due to the small isles between the piles of shit. But yes, comfortable.
Well ghosts and UFO's make for interesting reads, I've had a few of my own bump ins so it's an area of interest for me. How is "Ghost" coming along, I remember seeing pics on one of the threads of the press you will be using for it.
"ghost" is coming along nicely, although very slowly. I just printed the second page -- one short poem. Still 6 pages to go, then I'll make the title page, covers, etc. This little project gives me a new appreciation for typesetters. How on earth did the Webbs print those huge issues of OUTSIDER magazine and various books all by letterpress? They were saints of patience. And then think about 19th Century and earlier printers, making huge thick books full of small type -- egads! How did they stay sane? Before the linotype machine, every word was hand set, one letter at a time. What I love is when you are done setting the type and you ink it up and crank out the pages -- what a rush!
Yes the Webb books are definitely an amazing amount of work once you've actually done some work on a letterpress... I've typeset a couple poems just to get the feel for the setting (not to mention the clean-up of the individual letters) and man... It is a lot of work!

Though once the type is set, everything is aligned, inked, and centered... it goes pretty quickly. Though 3100 copies of something like Crucifix seems... mad. Genius, but mad just the same.
I can hand feed 1200 impressions an hour on my C&P, which is the same press that the Webbs used for the Bukowski books. So, assuming that Jon & Lou were feeding at the same speed, then it would take 3 hours of actual feeding of each page, which is quite a workout. 100 pages, would be 300 hours of feeding. Add to that at least a couple hours to typeset and then breakdown and redistribute a page and you are at about 5 hours per page (one side). The total that it would take ME to do a job like this, without even getting into the binding would be about 500 hours. At 40 hours a week, that is still about 12 weeks. It would take at least 12 weeks for me to collate and bind these like they did.

So, if I had no day job and just did a book like Crucifix, it would take be 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for about 6 months.

3100 copies of anything is quite a task. Let alone a 100 page letterpress printed book.

Bill, that's an interesting estimate of the amount of work involved in printing a Loujon Press book. With the two of them, maybe they could do a book in 3 months. Add to the printing and binding all the correspondence, editing, wrapping and shipping orders, buying paper and ink. They must have worked like slaves.
The binding goes twice as fast with two people, but not the printing.

Plus, I get the idea that the Webbs did not have a TON of type so they would set a page or two, print them, break them down and set the next pages.

If they had a linecaster then Jon could have set the whole book in a couple days and then they could have printed them taking turns. Very few people can feed paper for three hours straight, let alone for weeks on end. I have done it a few times, but it is VERY tough. Feeding paper is a small motion, but after a while, it starts to hurt. Walking up a flight of stairs is not tough, but doing a Stairmaster for three hours would be very tough.

My understanding was that Lou sold art during the day and jon set type. Then they printed it later that night.

Still, 3100 sets x 50 sheets of paper is 16,000 sheets. That is a lot of paper just to store.

I just finished 150 hardback books. Doing 150 books, there is no small step that does not take a LOT of time. Even something simple like gluing the edge of the text block for the book. For the Webbs, it may take them 2 minutes per book, but for 3,100 books, that comes out to 103 hours, which is almost 13 eight hour days.

...and that is only one step out of dozens of steps. I cannot express how much work it would be to do 3,100 handmade books. Even with all of the conveniences that are out there, it would be a monumental task that would consume your life for a long time.

Printers used to just be people that printed. To print NOW using 15th century technology, you have to be a bit "off."

A good friend of mine just about left his pointer and middle fingers in his press yesterday. He called me after leaving the emergency room. Luckily the press was a 7x11 and luckily it was foot treadled. It only crushed two fingers. On my slightly larger and motorized press, I would have left them in the press. Getting your fingers in my press means losing them.

It is much easier and saner to push "print" on your computer. No one has ever lost fingers using a laser or ink-jet printer.

Two fingers ... I'm thinking my rubber type, hand-cranked rotary press is the way to go. The results are crude, but I'll never loose as much as a finger nail with it. Although there are probably heavier, metal type presses that don't have a mechanized motion, that work by pulling a lever, one page at a time. Seems I've seen presses like that. You wouldn't lose fingers on something like that, but it would be slow printing.
metal type presses that don't have a mechanized motion, that work by pulling a lever...You wouldn't lose fingers on something like that
You would be less likely to, but they work the same way the big presses do, so there are definitely what they call "crush points."

The greater risk with a tabletop press is doing real damage to the tendons in your elbows and wrists. Both Bill and I have painful personal experience with that.
My wrist required painful surgery following the printing of Bukowski's "as Buddha smiles". I have pictures of my wrist somewhere, but picture a nasty scar that looked like I opened my wrist and the whole arm from my elbow to wrist varied from purple to blue.

Don't tell me that, Bill... That kind of thing is what I looking at for my first full project... Ah well, I don't need BOTH wrists.
Bill's did his wrists in, I killed my elbow. Torn ligaments in one of your elbows is...well...inconvenient. It took six months for the pain to stop, and another three months before I could fully use my arm again. All that was for only 50 copies of a poem. Those tabletop presses are cute, and they do work, but I wouldn't recommend them to anyone.
Having read all this it sounds like the major difference is that using a bigger press you'll risk losing fingers and using a smaller table-top version you'll risk loss of limb use for a considerable period of time. While losing fingers is fairly drastic, at least you'll be able to lift your arm to whack off; the added benefit being that the loss of fingers will make it feel like a stranger doing it, sort of a permanent corollary to the "other hand syndrome."
Stickpin - you filthy degenerate, I was politely going to keep quiet but loss of such skills seems tragically apparent. "Printer's curse" is a malady I'd find unendurable. Perhaps that's why most printers are faithfully married.:)
Having read all this it sounds like the major difference is that using a bigger press you'll risk losing fingers and using a smaller table-top version you'll risk loss of limb use for a considerable period of time.

I have hand fed at least 50,000 sheets of paper with my press with no problem. With the bigger press there is always the risk of injury. With the smaller press, it is not a risk, but a guarantee; if you are going to do a lot of printing with a little press, be prepared for pain. It will be your elbow or your wrist. These little tabletop presses, like Kelseys, were really made for kids and for churches to print their weekly mass sheets, etc.. They were not meant to print thousands of pieces of cardstock with deep impression.

You guys are making me rethink my plan to move from a rubber-type toy press to a bigger metal-type press. So far I have experienced no paint after printing over a hundred sheets (2 poems, 55 copies each). The actual printing on my rotary press is easy, just feed in a sheet and turn the crank. There's no real work to it, no stress on joints or muscles. My shoulder is still recovering, however, from rebuilding a section of my fence followed by rebuilding my front porch last summer.
The problem with the Kelseys, besides the guarantee of injury is that they are in short supply. There has been a run on them in the last couple years. I bought mine for $500 complete and it even included type, quoins, furniture, and shipping from Indiana. I sold it for $500 a year or two later. They are now selling for $1500. They are great presses for people without much space for a large press and because of this, they are very tough to find. Many copies on ebay are damaged beyond repair or missing parts that are irreplaceable. A 5x8 Kelsey (like I had) in good shape and complete sells for over $1000 any day of the week. You could get a Chandler & Price 8x10, like I have for a couple hundred dollars, but it weighs 1200 lbs and takes up a lot of space.

The smaller the press, the more expensive. The only exception is the Vandercooks. They are flat bed presses and artists LOVE them. They usually sell for $6000. I saw a premium one sell for $10,000 last month (it was in Oregon) and the winning bidder was in Australia, so add to that at least a few thousand in shipping and taxes....

If anyone has a Vandercook SP-15 or Universal III, or knows anyone that wants to donate one t a good cause (me), I'll trade it for one of every release that I do, the rarest state of the release for LIFE (or $100 a month for 6 years). I want one bad and can make one sing....

I always wanted a proof press but never had a place to park one. There was a great little one for sale in San Pedro when I lived down there...I think the model was called Pony (?), but I can't find any info online. It was smaller than a typical Vandercook and the guy only wanted $250 for it. But I just didn't have a spot.

Once you place things like that it's best not to have to move them...

Bill, I had no idea you could get a C&P that cheap. Where to park it and dealing with the weight would make me think twice about buying one, plus that finger loss thing. But still...tempting.
If you are patient, you can sometimes get one free. Hauling is another issue. If you get a press free, pay $500 to get it delivered and then realize that it is trashed, you are out big time.

Still, a Pearl would be an ideal press for someone that wants a larger press with a small footprint. They are 7x11's, I believe. They are very tall and skinny. They probably weigh 800 lbs, so three people could move one without too much trouble. Very cool presses. They look like an Art Deco version of my press. Still, as they are more easily moved and installed in an artist's loft, they are probably pricier.

All this talk of presses and Webb reminds me of the poem in You Get So Alone... about Webb in which Bukowski ends with the line "That Crazy son of a bitch, he was a lyric poem himself". I'm starting to think some of you may be some crazy SOB's as well, in some cases missing a finger or two. I'll leave the printing to you guys.

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