Would You Suggest Writing as a Career? (1 Viewer)

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I've seen a few mentions of magazine submissions by users around here so I'll broach this topic - how many of you are writers? If you are a writer, did Bukowski inspire you to start/continue/give up?

Many of us probably read Bukowski's poetry and thought, "I can do that!" Of course that's the fiendish beauty of his work; it looks like anyone could do it, but that's far from the truth. Anyone can imitate the style, no doubt about that, but the substance is a completely different matter.

I know I said elsewhere that I didn't want to turn this into a forum where people posted their own poetry, but we can make an exception in this thread.

If you've been successful with your submissions, where have you been published?
I've been published in about a dozen small literary mags around the world (mostly Canadian). Both poetry and short fiction.
I wrote before discovering Bukowski, but had stopped for about 10 years while I tried my hand at acting (fucken Ac-tors!!!). Then I bought Burning in water... and as soon as I finished it, I wrote 8 poems in the next 24 hrs. 6 were eventually published. So I always read buk now when I need a kickstart. Those poems were buk influenced, but not a rip off (imho). My style has since moved further and further away from Buk, and i have a feeling he would hate my short stories, but I can't change because of that, it's just the way they come out at this moment.
Well, that's me...NEXT!
I used to write quite a lot before I ever read Bukowski and I kept writing after that, but I think my stuff wasn't influenced by Bukowski. My main influences were SouthAmerican, especially J. Cort?zar -he's the "master", if there's any.

I've been published here and there, but nothing too important or fancy, just minor things. I've always considered writing as a hobby, as a means to express things I can't express otherwise, but I don't consider myself a writer.

Sadly, 99% of the things I've written are in Spanish, so there's no point in uploading them here. Maybe you could get a sense of the Spanish rhythm, though :p

I did write a brief "essay" on Bukowski's letters which JJSmith wanted to publish in the Bukowski Journal #2 or #3, but as I said somewhere else, I kind of forgot to mail her the corrected text. I might upload that one...
Well, I would've been published in Bukowski Review #4 but I didn't meet the dead line. I've submitted loads of poetry to Joan Jobe Smith and Pearl with no reply yet. The deadline isnt up.
Buk is one of my main inspirations to write but often times I sit down to write and think to myself...Bukowski had to live before he was able to write. What does a 20 year old man have to write about?

heres the poem I submitted to the Bukowski Review:

For Buk
distance and time
people and words
complete thoughts
feelings expressed through
tone and manner
leviathans to guide the
blind and misled
in times of great insight and intrigue
he's sitting in a bar
next to a man
with a third grade reading level
the smartest man that ever lived
once said:

"genius might be the ability
to say something profound in a simple way."

that man is dead now
but his ideals
are the light of the misguided
and they will live

Would I suggest writing as a career?
That depends on what you find important in life. If you like money, then no. If you like leisure time and freedom, yes, of course.
HenryChinaski said:
What does a 20 year old man have to write about?
Hmm. Well, there have been genius works written by 20 year olds.

I will say that I prefer what I do now to what I did 15 years ago, but that my just be honing rather than experience.

Imagination can serve you as well as experience. Though experience does seem to temper a person.
I think most writers prefer whatever they're doing now -however shitty it might be- to whatever they did when they were younger -however amazingly great it was.

Of course, when you're twenty you think the world is yours and that view changes a little as you grow older.
Yeah, hands up, I write

As I said in a previous post I was introduced to Bukowski by a friend who handed me You Get So Alone. Definitely the power and simplicity appealed to me very much as it was what I was trying to obtain in my own work, all be it very badly then at 18 years old.

Since submitting on a regular basis from late 2004 I?ve managed The Lummox Journal, Lunatic Chameleon, Remark, My Favorite Bullet, Thunder Sandwich, Zygote In My Coffee, Mystery Island Magazine, Open Wide, Free Verse, featured poet in The Stinging Fly and just heard about inclusion in the Autumn edition of Poetry Salzburg Review.

Have only ever written one poem about Bukowski, got accepted for the forthcoming Mystery Island Bukowski tribute issue ? hope the guys there don?t mind me posting it here for yous to have a gander at:

:::Bukowski Is Just A Guy We Write About:::

every time I
think I have
just the
to say
the writer,

to unequivocally
sum him up

I go off
and read
one of
his poems
or stories

This is
not a

Still waitin on a reply from a couple of small press publishers in the UK about a first collection ?

well anyway

luck to you all
I was writing before I discovered Buk's work but he inspired me to write as brutally honest as I can. He wrote like a man with nothing to lose and was not afraid to look foolish or subhuman or hugely egotistical. He was not afraid to admit being a virgin until 23; wasn't afraid to admit how cruel his dad was and how ineffectual his mother was. And, most impressive of all, to me, was his admittance of having suffered from horrible acne.

He was the antithesis of all my American, late 20th century, surbanite vanities & neurotic hangups: An unrepentant alcoholic, acne-scarred, atheistic, cuss-word-using writer who celebrated drunkeness, solitude, women-as-sex-objects, and those brave enough to Exit this dreamgame via suicide.

He was an autobiographical journalist and his "notes" about his life (especially the dark, down times & the philosophical moments) encouraged me to hang on:
"It was all we were worthy of:
a minor bravery
chucking it
although we weren't sure
the dogs said that was the best
part: not being

Writing as a career? Sure---if you can't stop yourself. I have nothing else to fall back on. No pension. No retirement package. No other marketable skill (except customer service---and you can't retire on THOSE wages). So I am a writer by default. I write the books I looked for but never found. Not many are currently being sold, but that's what happens when you have to self-publish because your books are too weird for the traditional publishers to take a chance on.


I have now moved on to creating tv shows in England. That's where the fuck-you money is and that's what I need for my retirement.

As Buk said numerous times: Writing CHOOSES you. It is a disease in the truest sense of the word. You either write what comes to mind or you go mad.
Brother Schenker said:
I think he would have liked some people to believe that, but it wasn't true. He was an old-school romantic, when all was said and done. Just look at the many poems and stories about Jane, crying while reading the poem about Linda King in Born Into This, finding - and staying with - Linda B...

It's touched on toward the end of this thread, "dispelling Bukowski's myths": https://bukowskiforum.com/showthread.php?t=83
^^^^Point taken, but really, people are multi-layered. Seeing women as sex objects first (as most hetero men do before the age of...80!) doesn't preclude one from being romantic as well.

I liked the fact that when he was in his "let's call a spade a spade" kind of mood he would write about women in a crude & sexist way. Many of us married men can speak that same way amongst ourselves and yet still be considerate husbands & lovers.

Bukowski was a man---and all men are full of contradictions, hypocrisies, and shit. When he was feeling tender he would write about a woman and make her out as stronger & braver than a god; and when he was feeling frisky & cocky then he would write about women as nothing but bitches and sex dolls.

Buk was deep, not shallow. He wrote from all sides of the elephant. He was neither just good or just bad; just soft or just hard; he was the whole enchilada.

Did you ever read that Hustler interview where they asked him about his story The Fiend? They asked him if he'd let an 8 year old girl suck his cock and he said "yea, if she wanted to". I laughed and thought, how bizarre: why would an 8 year old girl wanna suck some old man's cock?

The thing that impressed me was his utterly un-PC reply to the question. Would he give the same reply in today's hysterical climate?
I am a writer, not a published one through, but I plan to be. Bukowski did not initially inspire me to write, but he did inspire me to write what ever I want to. Before I came across him I was like those collage intellectuals you wrote your poem about. The dirty old man did help me get out of that crap. After discovering some of his poetry I realized that not everything I put to paper had to be so damned meaningful. MJP I really enjoy your poem, you have no idea, I am young and in college, so of course I am surrounded by those types. Its really horrible, I just want to pin up your poem all over the school and hope that some of them, just some of them get the idea. Anyway, reading Bukowski helped me find my style by showing me through example not to write like him, or anyone else.
let the master answer this question himself.

I think this pretty much sums up my argument. This is the reason why I write. I do it because I must, if it leads to a career, then so be it.

sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way
by charles bukowski

so you want to be a writer?

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over you
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

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

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousand of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
buring your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep doing it
until you die or it dies in

there is no other way.

and there never was.
I can also quote from another literary source: Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet.

Rilke says: "Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write. This above all-- ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple "I must," then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it...

"A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity... go into yourself and test the deeps in which your life takes rise; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create."
interesting thread. as to the 8 year old comment. i'm going to guess that was a comment specifically for the hustler audience and moreso a comment on the idea that the interviewer would even ask it.

btw - can't find where it was posted, should go on this thread. i downloaded then read a few page thing by cirerita on buk, which, after a few days, some lines are still rolling around my brain.

nice, thanks.
Well, I've had a couple tonight and thought I'd post the 3 Bukowski tribute poems I've written. the first one is about 10 years old, that's why the refernce to him being dead 2 years. these have never been sent out to mags, kept them to myself, perhaps a reflection on their quality? anyway...

somehow it's about me
(for bukowski)

I didn't know
you were dead not even
that you were sick I just
found out recently almost 2
years I missed not that it
matters much since dead
is dead no
matter when it happens.
but if I had found out
right away I
would probably be over
it by now but this is
probably not the
time to be thinking
of me.

Charles Bukowski stole my pen

that prick's been here again
drank all my beer and
tried to pinch my wife's ass
and stank up my bathroom the next morning
and writes all my best stuff
before I get a chance to think of it.

writing v. drinking

Hunter S. Thompson does it ok
so could Bukowski.
Hemingway had trouble after he was a real drunk
and Faulkner lost it entirely. Raymond Carver had to kick it to get it back
and then lost it to cancer. O'Neill, who knows?
I say after Long Days Journey he lost it
but some say later. Fitzgerald's writing
like his drinking
was overrated. but
all I know is try
as I might
it's very hard to type with
a glass in one hand and a
bottle in the other.
I like the "punch line" endings. I go for those as well (or they just kind of happpen that way), And in the later work Bukowski mastered it.

I missed the reference earlier in this thread to you trying your hand at acting. Where? When? What?

I like to know what everyone is up to or what they've done in the past. I'm curious like that.
mjp said:
I missed the reference earlier in this thread to you trying your hand at acting. Where? When? What?
Nothing much big...small theatre productions. Played Mitch in Streetcar Named Desire, Teach in Mamet's American Buffalo and Oedipus in a strange little multimedia production (among others) just local stuff small reviews in local papers (my city has about 350,000 people.)

mjp said:
I like the "punch line" endings. I go for those as well (or they just kind of happpen that way), And in the later work Bukowski mastered it.
Yeah, these are older poems that I've sat on...my style has moved away from Buk, as I said earlier. the last one is very Buk influenced. a rip-off, maybe...ah well...
mjp, saw your ink poems and read your comments about people being concerned that you are ruining old books by doing your drawings on those pages (for those of you that don't know it, mjp is an artist/writer who does his work on pages of antique books that are pretty much wrecked), i say that those books would have been tossed, recylcled, etc., anyway. your artwork on them gives them a new life.
the love song of charles bukowski

let's go now, charlie, you and me
from where i'm sitting the stars are out
it's lucy in the sky - on the black table -
come on, charlie, the fucking streets are empty!
old sam's talking backward
about no sleep and fast lays
and cheap diners - peanut shells -
talk that leads nowhere, charlie -
it makes no goddamned sense!
like "where's the beef?"

oh! don't ask me what the hell it means.
sammy! sammy! bring back mr. green jeans!
and - while you're up -
bring me a goddamned beer.
the whores come and the whores go
they're talking to me charlie -
talking slow...
i've managed to piss them all off
and i could care less!
where's the beer?
tell the sluts to go
show the girls the door
the way out...
don't pay them sammy -
damned lesbians!

but keep loving me girls - keep on dropping in -
as long as i'm breathing - long as i can get it up -
i'll kiss your nipples - and anything else you want...

what do whores want, charlie?
please - do not ask me what can a man do that they'll enjoy -
think they want love? think they like sex?
nice things...silver bracelets to hide track marks on rough white wrists?
i think better...a nickel's worth?

me! i love to fuck!
i love to drink.
i love the coast.
i've known glitter - known all that does.
worked the streets - worked the whores -

wealth? power?
that is not what matters -
that is not it - not at all.
not a prince - not a king...
not much of a man - if certain lovers you ask.

let's go now, charlie, you and me...
from where i'm sitting the stars are out -
lucy - lucy in the big black sky!
the beach is empty - a walk will do us good -
we'll wear our jeans rolled...
we're here to hear the bitches of the sea -
listen, charlie - it's your love song...
must be hundreds of them - all singing -
though my ears - resting on the floors of jersey lea strain -
your queans are muted - i scarce hear the voices - i have known them...
known them and more!
sing - sing - croon, cockets!

not to me - but to a heart of similar chord -
the song is your song, charlie -
sing! sing, bitches!
flip your green tails - scaled - wet - glistening!
make waves - wash the water from lover's tears -
a rain of pure emotion - wash the cold blue/green
water over my questioning eyes.

and i...shall be attendant upon your death, charlie.
as you breathe in - inhale - liquid heavy with salt crystals!
sharp - cutting - slicing through blackened lungs...
smothering a desperate gasp -
mixing with blood - blood so thin! filling cells to rupture.

as i am attendant upon you - upon death -
so begins act two
depart - stage left - the fool...singing.

(c)riverrat 7-03
hoochmonkey9 said:
mjp, saw your ink poems and read your comments about people being concerned that you are ruining old books by doing your drawings on those pages, i say that those books would have been tossed, recylcled, etc., anyway. your artwork on them gives them a new life.
Thanks. Yeah, I heard a couple negative comments early on, but most people don't seem to care much whether I murder old books.
I should clarify...I love books, love the printed word, and have thousands, no shit, thousands of books in my house (just ask my wife, I read too much), but if a book isn't being used, it is no longer a useful thing...you are making it a useful thing...uh, am i drunk enough yet....?
here's my Buk tribute:

Sing out, bastard

(A song, to be sung to the
tune of I don?t give a Shit)

Strike a blow for Jesus
Strike a blow for the corn-feed Iowans
Strike a blow,
Strike a blow for the up-tight, tight-ass,
wasted and more;
Strike a blow for freedom (if you can
find it);
for every brokeback cowboy who ever
loved another (hide the cows);
for the liars that sell our souls to the devil
for a price too high; for the scum who think
they run the country (may they rot in hell);
the cheaters who run the five&dime and sell
defective toilet paper; for
the twats, and tweaks and a handful of
turds on a shingle;
for the brisket boys and the limpers of
taste that edit the
New Yorker;
Strike a god-damn blow and see if it
gets you anywhere;
for the common housefly, the rodents and
Strike a blow for Einstein and Darwin;
Strike a blow for Edison;
Strike a blow for Elvis;
Strike a blow for?Oh,

to hell with it.
mjp, i just found the time, out my hefty schedule of distraction, to look at yr ink poems malarky.

genius, is what i say.



Thank you sir. You are obviously a gentleman of exceptional taste and refinement!
i wrote before i ever heard of Buk and it was shit. i can't recall where i first heard his name but i checked him out and i was totally blown away. it made me dump all the academic crap i've read before and just wrote whatever was on my mind and how i felt. Buk really inspired me to just tell my story and where i came fromand not be afraid. since after writing what i've wanted i've been published in many online and print mags. so i owe a hell of a lot to Buk.
If you're from this part of the world, you'd know that writing ain't a career around here so i suggest you do somethin' more useful with yer time. :). Neah, don't listen to me, I am just kidding. I've been a writer before I ever read Buk, I am a writer still(who isn't? :P), I prefer my native language so I might cut the lines in a poem manner, but it's not likely to translate real poems or writings for the fans here:P. I love to read your creations, though so keep writing, keep posting, keep the poetry
rolling in the mud between us
with it?s big false flirtatious smile
Buk Buk Booze

Yeah. I'm a writer. For a brief spell I earned my daily bread from my words. I wrote before I ever found Bukowski, whom our very own Brother Schenker introduced me to in Ham on Rye, many years ago.

I have no doubt that Buk influenced my writing. It's kind of like the same way Fante influenced Bukowski - - the terse, clipped, succinct and short way in which Buk and Fante deliver the goods. So, in effect, I was influenced by Fante through Buk through Brother Schenker.

But, as with any writer, and any clown who finds it impossible to ignore a keyboard and blank computer screen, or pen/pencil and blank piece of paper, a phony style is good for a million plus - plus words. Talent is the key, and she is a mysterious Bitch as elusive as her cousin the Muse.

I do thank Bukowski for giving me the courage to continue despite numerous and heartbreaking setbacks. The fucker had balls.
Bad "Buk-Inspired" Poetry (when you were drunk )

OK - lets be honest

Many of us are writers and poets and creative types here. Lets share some laugbably bad Buk-type poems of ours. Written when we were totally inspired and drunk and giddy on the work of Bukowski. Cmon - I know many of us did. Allow me to go first and embarrass myself !.....


on those days
when the muse
sings to me

she usually
grabs me early

and grinds her hips
into mine
and begins whispering

forget your job
your appointments
the phone calls
the weather
traffic and breakfast

we've got work to do

and i always obey

who wouldn't

her visits are jewels
hiding in the dumpster

surprise love notes
under the wiperblades

the receptionist saying
don't worry
it's covered

and my guitar spills forth
and the notebook fills up

and the world
keeps spinning
perfectly well

without my feet on the treadmill.
really not bad

ok,heres mine:

My kind of insanity

The sensation
is totally sufficient
to understand that
is unpleasant.

Yet it needs sanity
to also sense that
for others.
the clouds race

the clouds race through the sky
horses in some grand race above our heads...

the sun is beating down here all the power of God
in its beams- perhaps the light of the world

and all round streets houses
suburban bliss and safety
and perhaps as such a kind of lying

as the wars happen in distant absurd countries
as the sinister juggerant bombs are polished

as the cheese bubbles and pops under the grill
as the sweat emits from a strangers armpits
as old age pensioners wither in the heat gracefully

this is the life this here
hand and foot
mouth and eye

body part
with the land part

piece by piece
eye by eye

life here
a great tapestry
of lives

and memories
as ever
cross bend
and contort

as the sun bakes down
as the minds begin tp wander

...and clouds continue to gallop
through the space of the world
Like a crab
you could go backwards. . .
Earth-vexing barnacle.
Saucy onion-eyed clotpole.
Remember when Richard
spoke of The Rotton Mouth
of Death?
And your strange matters with art,
not quite noble enough at that young age?
Time moves and we still hang onto life. . .
some of us anyway.
I guess others are fond of the
baseness hugger-muggerville
get down;
dreadfully superficial,
disembodied space.

Sometimes I have it too, fucker.
Dull - Your poem is a compact nugget of wisdom, just like Buk's often were.

Olaf - I freaked out the first time I read yours. I interpreted the line "Cheese pops under the grill" as referring to the front grille of an automobile !

ESMoist - That closing line is a classic Buk-style kiss-off.

Anybody else ?
lol this is a funny thread.

the nine to five

while everybody else
is out
chasing their menial, nine to five jobs,
I am waiting for the word
to strike me
with that golden sentance
that will make
the ugliest of women
weep like dogs
while the world around them
goes on
as if nothing had happened.
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