Troubled by a few lines... (1 Viewer)

On a personal level - maybe I'm making to much of it ... I consider myself a so so writer knowing I'll never be published on a level of which Buk was, probably never being published at all - I mean, that'd take effort to send out submissions and etc. :)

But this bothered me, and maybe we can discuss this:

"if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
your not ready."

- From "So you want to be a writer"

Like I said earlier ... I consider myself a halfway decent writer, but I lack the motivation to send out work and In some way I probably fear the rejection that would ensue. So I "print" my work to my blog and to my facebook page and hope that someone gets something out of it.

But now I think Buk is telling me to knock it off. That I'm not ready for it if I'm not ready to take the chance of sending it out ... I don't know ... maybe it's more of the alcohol content then the written content right now :)

Just needed to get that off my chest.

Happy 4th, all.

I think it refers more to having to get approval from someone else, not just exposing it to others. But the whole thing of the poem that I love... is that writing should be done for writing's sake. Not because you want fame, money, or even to be recognized as a writer... but just to write.

so you want to be a writer is one of my favorite Bukowski poems...
Good points.
I don't want any of those things ... well, that's a lie. I'd like some money so I can buy all the fancy new beers my bank account denies :)

Ugh. If there are moderators here, could someone edit the title of this thread? Buy to by ... ugh. drinking and typing don't mix, kids.

(fixed. and who says drinking and typing don't mix?) -your friendly neighborhood moderator.
The point is, write. If you feel it, send it out. Buk got rejected a fair amount of times in the early days. The Beatles were turned down by Decca.

I've been rejected more than I've been accepted (I'm also lazy, so there are few data points here); it doesn't hurt that much. Suck it up and either do it or don't. And get on with your life.
You do for yourself, that is the main point, being recognized belongs to others.
Don't try!
Sure bread is good, but do it when you are not thinking of hunger, it needs to come from the heart.
Not to be too picky LTS, but I actually think Buk WAS referring to sending work out. In the rest of the poem, his advice is "don't do it", "forget about it", or "do something else". Those are pretty basic warnings. But in regards to the need "to read it to your wife, etc..", he offers not advice, but a diagnosis. You're not ready.

It took me many years to send out my stuff. Fear of rejection was a big part of that delay, but it's funny how quickly I got over those rejection notices. Remember that editors have many reasons to pick and choose what material to publish. And its not always based on "quality". (space limitations, previous commitments to other poets, sticking to a theme, etc..)

For the record, I am far from the most prolific poet on this site. But when I look at my bookshelf and see the ever-expanding space that my published stuff takes up, I ask myself WHAT WERE YOU SO SCARED OF ?

Go for it, my man.
Being rejected can be a positive think, it may mean that your style is different.
What is important is that if you believe in yourself, may you persevere and shut the fuck up about it.
I almost never show anything I've written to anyone before I send it out. Maybe I've done that a couple times, only to ask "is this offensive to so and so" or something else to do with the content; never as a check on the quality. The only opinions that count are my own and the editors'.
if you start listening to everything that people have to say about your work, you become paralyzed and no longer write or paint from the heart.
You always have that little voice in the back of your head that tells you what people want to see or hear.
Don't try

I guess it has to be somewhere explained...but is there any CLEAR explanation what Ch.B. meant by his words on the grave tomb ''DON' TRY"?

Was he reffering to writing or to living or desiring success?

Any answer would be appreciated.:cool:
I guess it has to be somewhere explained...but is there any CLEAR explanation what Ch.B. meant by his words on the grave tomb ''DON' TRY"?
I think he was referring to writing, but it fits on other things too, and he meant if you're only trying you'll never achieve your goal. Instead you should go for it wholeheartedly whether it'll pay off or not. So it really means "Don't just try - Do it!"
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So it really means "Don't just try - Do it!"

exactly. i heard nike was considering using "don't try" as their catch phrase
but decided it was too subtle for the kids.
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I think Buk was saying you could read to anybody. If you were reading to people just to get compliments, then you're not writing for the right reason. I've read stuff to family before. And many is the time they told me they didn't get what I was writing. They gave me advice on how to make it more palatable to them.

I didn't follow it, of course. I write for me.
The original posting resonates with me ... I note the title of the poem is "so you want to be a writer?" In reading it, I feel emphasis should be on the term "be a writer" ... this is different that the act of writing (perhaps only in nuance to some) ... for another view by Bukowski, see "how to be a great writer" (from the collection "Love is a Dog from Hell") ... in that one too he invokes the phrase "not being ready" but in a different context ... in an interview with Fernanda Pivano, he says, "... I wasn't quite ready to be a writer then; I hadn't lived enough." (this is quoted by Barry Miles in his bio. of CB -- page 89) ... this is another context ...

Perhaps "being a writer" means having something to say that is genuine ... the lines quoted in the original posting point to a sense of potentially having someone "looking over one's shoulder", in one way or another -- a demon of some sort, possibly, that will only serve to prevent a person from actually writing what she/he really wants to write ... this is talking about the "inner censor" (the worst kind, perhaps, that gets part of its venom from the urge to consult girlfriends/boyfriends/spouses or anyone) ... but this is talking directly about the actually act of writing ... which certainly is the required step toward "being a writer" ... other aspects of "being a writer" certainly include having the courage to submit one's material to the critical gaze of others (commonly known as editors) ... self-publication avoids the immediate danger with this but someone will want to comment sooner or later ... and many people say that writers do want readers ... cheers, DaP
The phrase "so you want to be a writer" resonates with me as well. Many people may want to be writers. But how many know why? Why do we want to write?

Or is it that we must write? Who does it because it's something fun to do? And who does it because they are compelled?
I love to write. There's something very romantic to me about sitting down with a beer and a type writer (or laptop - much easier to rid mistakes!), with some music going in the background.

The local pub has free wifi and it's a nice setting to just sit back, listen to the jukebox and write about the characters that come in and out of the door all night.
there's a lot of tension, for me, where the 'i write for no other reason than i have to write' mentality meets the drive to get one's work out there. if the former were pure, then the latter would never need to happen. not that there is anything wrong with this - if you feel like you're talented at something, there is a fundamental human need to feel your talent validated by it being made permanent via publication, and also enjoyed by those that read the publication. it's when writers look down on people wanting validation for their writing as these slimy turds who aren't "real" writers that i get irritated. or when people wax on about the purity of their intentions - "i just have to write, man! it's the only thing that keeps me sane! i feel the words bubbling up inside me all the time, man!" that's all well and good, but if these same people are also pounding the pavement mailing out submissions and trying to get noticed, then there's more to it than just needing to write, and it's kind of hypocritical just to deny and then ridicule this drive to get noticed that often goes hand in hand with the drive to write. buk's "so you want to be a writer" poem bugs me for this reason - i think bukowski got a little too involved in how badly he "needed" to write that he'd almost rather you forget how hard he worked to become a professional writer. for me, i prefer his poems that tell stories about his day-to-day life and unique take on things to the poems that just talk about his craft for a bunch of lines and then end in a flurry of self-sanctimony. okay, sorry for the poptop-length post - i've just put a lot of thought into this topic, since i consider myself a writer (not a very prolific one, but still), and i'm pretty unashamed about wanting people to like my writing.
...i think bukowski got a little too involved in how badly he "needed" to write that he'd almost rather you forget how hard he worked to become a professional writer.
Well, I think you hit the nail on the head there. He rarely talked about how hard he worked. He wanted it to look as if he wasn't trying at all, just performing a bodily or spiritual function - that was part of the persona and myth.

But meanwhile he was trying harder than anyone else out there. You don't become as ubiquitous as he did without really trying.
which is funny in the context of the whole "bon't try" thing, although i've always interpreted that more as "bon't pretend."
Well, I think you hit the nail on the head there. He rarely talked about how hard he worked. He wanted it to look as if he wasn't trying at all...
He didn't try hard to write. He wrote easily and without revising, editing and doubting like a philosopher. He went on writing his stuff quite easily. Maybe because he mostly described his life. He didn't invent new worlds and other characters than himself Mr. Chinaski so I disagree with you.
Dude -- 666 is so awesome to have in your username. It's like, the devil! Fuckin-a!

That's what we say here, "fuckin-a!" Say it around your friends. They will think you're cool with your new USA jive talk. Just throw it in here and there, like, "Mans, my 25 years old Syrena hatchback won't start again! Franciszek - put the pliers on the carburetor again while I put more butane in the tank - fuckin-a!" or, "This Czysta vodka is shit, and all these girls looks like Lech Walesa! Fuckin-a!"

Try it.
I love to write. There's something very romantic to me about sitting down with a beer and a type writer (or laptop - much easier to rid mistakes!), with some music going in the background.

The local pub has free wifi and it's a nice setting to just sit back, listen to the jukebox and write about the characters that come in and out of the door all night.

I wish I could do that. I'm far too self-conscious to sit in a pub with a laptop and write. I have sat in a coffee shop on Saturday morning with a note pad and written, in Portland while waiting for my wife to get her hair cut, but there's something low profile about paper and pen compared to a laptop. And it's morning, everyone's half awake, no one paying much attention, and the coffee provides good cover. As in: I'm not writing -- I'm having a scone and coffee. That I can do.
Who knows how easily or how hard it was for him to write? He probably had good days and bad like we all do, only he just had better bad days than me and you because his style came before all of our "genius" attempts at writing styles. That makes him the master at what he did, but I digress. The point is, he DID work hard - he liked to downplay his whole strategy, but he was one ambitious mother fucker. He tried, but his philosophy of "Don't Try" still works and still stands as correct. Perhaps that is a conflicting idea - as an activity, but it's not as an ideal, and I believe while he worked his ass off and produced liked mad, he was also disengaged with the trappings of wanting and needing the adulation. He wasn't trying to climb any ladders of exterior gratification, and he wasn't trying to write beyond what he knew, which is why his work is so wonderfully void of pretension.
Writers eat scones?
Sure. They didn't have any muffins I liked, so I settled for a scone. Any port in a storm. The funny thing is that I did this routine maybe a dozen times, once a month while my wife was going to a hair stylist she liked in Portland, which is about an hour drive from our home. I didn't pick out this coffee shop because it was cool -- only because it was a block from the hair place and the only place open within a mile or so where I could get coffee. So for a year I sat in there and wrote in my little pad like some hipster. Recently, I heard that it's considered the place to be seen in that neighborhood, frequented by celebs, etc. I couldn't tell you much about it. A Starbucks on Hawthorne, I think. I am so Portlandia.
Writing in public smacks of performance to me. I've never understood it. I tried to do it a couple of times when I've had to kill a lot of time in a certain place, but the results were shit, so I stopped trying. I suppose if what you're writing requires absolutely no concentration it would be fine. But sitting there "writing about the characters who walk in" - wow. If that was my only option or opportunity to get anything down, I'd quit writing all together. Which I'm sure would be no great loss to anyone, but there you go.

Writing aside, sitting in a god damn Starbucks or wherever with your face in a computer is just douchebag behavior. If you walk in to the Starbucks on Colorado here in old town Pasadena, at any given time you'll see 20 or 30 empty-headed morons staring at Mac Books or iPhones. Because, you know, they just have so much important shit that can't wait. It has to be carried out in public. So everyone can see how awesome they are, with their awesome devices and $200 t-shirts. It's just awesome. It makes me want to roll a couple of hand grenades in there. Give the survivors something to blog about.

Not that I have a strong opinion on the subject one way or another.
I remember back in the 1970s Harlan Ellison would sit in a store-front window on occasion writing his short stories. Another time he took titles from various callers on a radio show and wrote stories from that. One of the titles was Hitler Painted Roses, which he found out originally came from Steve Richmond. He acknowledged that and gave credit.

I think he just wanted people to realize writing isn't anything but sex mis..., no, anything but sitting down and doing it. Writing, that is.
I know it sounds like I'm a pretentious performance artist, "writing in public," but I used to do it when I was younger (pre-computer age), but not because I was trying to show the world I was a writer. I had nowhere else to write. My family was nuts and I couldn't write there. If I wasn't staying there, I was predominantly couch surfing and didn't have a home.

And I did write about the things I saw - all the freaky people that walked into the old Tiny Naylor's coffee shop I frequented in Studio City before they tore it down. A sad day indeed. It was one of the last coffee shops with that great mid-century architecture I grew to love, with all that gaudy decor. Incredible chandeliers! I'd write about the waitresses that had worked there for over 30 years, the 50-year old Latino busboys, and the regulars barflies that ate alone at the counters after 2 AM.

It was a 24-hour place and down the street were three different gay bars, two that put on incredible drag shows, one in particular called the Queen Mary, and everyone would come to Tiny Naylor's after the shows at 2:30 or so, still in their glittery dresses, makeup and gowns. It was quite an affair.

My poetry and my short stories were not very good at that time, and I have no idea if I'm all that much better now, but I was only a kid then after all. I probably only had a few good usable lines here and there. Nothing that worked all the way through. I wrote at that coffee shop for many years, from 14 until I was in my 20s and they tore it down. I tried to write in other places after that, but it was never the same. I couldn't do it.

I tried writing at a place called the Onyx, which was really the first "coffee house" in LA near Sunset Junction. Lots of freaks there too, but they were all of the bohemian nature, not freaks by accident. Then...over the course of a year, everybody started to write there. They wrote, they sketched, they drew. It became the place to come and "be" an artist and "be" interesting. So, I stopped bringing a notebook. I didn't want to be like everyone else. Plus, I think I had a place to live by then.
"Hey boys, just a little deadhead
Who's watching, who's watching?
I's just a little deadhead
With too much trouble for me to shake
Oh, the weather and the blindin' ache
Was ridin' high until the '89 quake
Hit the Santa Cruz garden mall
Like a wrecking ball"

Wrecking Ball,
Miss Gillian Welch
"I wish I was a little bit taller
I wish I was a baller
I wish I had a girl who looked good, I would call her
I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat
And a six four Impala."

I Wish,
Mr. Skee-Lo

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