Every young girl wants some pink ballet slippers or toe shoes. They are the epitome of femininity.
Now on with my article for today….Regardless of what you think of this man or his work, I think he is correct about committing to work (in my case painting) when there seems to be little reward.
Charles Bukowski, Selected Letters, Volume 4: 1987 – 1994, edited by Seamus Cooney; published in 2005 by Virgin Books, Ltd, ISBN 0 7535 0933 4
(The last of his published letters – he died in March 1994.)
About the need for solitude:
To me a closed door is one of the most beautiful things on earth. Their door or mine. . . . Every time the phone rings here, I feel invaded, a chill runs through me and it’s mixed with anger and I don’t anger often.
About continuing to work, when there seems to be little reward:
The long haul is the killer and few come out the other side of the wall. . . . By this, I don’t mean we should take our work as a serious or holy thing, but more as just the best thing to do, that there is to do. So why not do it?
About the value of the work:
Well, the war’s out there, the bomb’s out there, everything’s out there and there isn’t much we can do. One big flash can solve it. If not, the national debt can just about destroy the economy. Nowadays nations fall apart over night. I really have to almost laugh when I look back at those who called themselves the lost generation. All those poor idiots were moaning about were ants in the picnic basket. There’s time yet, but for what? Minor adjustments. The major ones have gone by us. I feel strangely like I did when I sat on that same barstool for 5 years cadging drinks. We can only make slight moves within the the fix. But never to quit within this darkness. We are still here. The slightest dent against impossibility is the miracle. That is why as these keys bite against this paper, I even feel good. Joy is not gone even in the face of reality. A good poem, like a good drink, is still worth something, like a cat walking across the floor toward you, both of you feeling and knowing the shining of yes.
About dabblers in the Arts:
I believe what we have to fear is the feeling of the general public toward poetry and/or art. They have no idea what it is but they have the thought that anybody can do it if they feel like it doing it. In fact many of them already label themselves as Artists. They may even have attended classes. They are piddlers in the field and most of the field are piddlers. These won’t lay down any blood to get their work done, they won’t gamble with madness, starvation in their need to get the work done. They don’t feel it that way. They want fame and name but they won’t give up their comforts and their securities.
About the necessity of work:
I’m glad writing came along for me and that I’ve had some late luck. But I would have kept going, no matter. It’s all stuck inside of me and has to keep coming out. . . . I don’t see how people can do anything at all without writing or painting or something of the like, some excessive splash against the darkness. It’s just too damned dumb to to sit and take it straight like most of them do.
About achieving financial success from the work:
The whole matter that has occurred is beyond miracle. Still, I don’t have to tell you it isn’t the money, never was. Because we wrote it for ourselves, for the joy and madness of it. Great then and all right then. And if there’s a fall back, a cut back, fine. We’ll accept that too. What we want to do is keep going as we have since the beginning until sickness, accident, senility, death or whatever the hell, stops us.
About maturity and creativity:
Age needn’t be a detriment: see Cervantes. Maybe it’s the luck of doing it for so long but I feel the words just grip at the page better. When I sit down I get a power glow and it just emanates. Yet, I am aware that everything can vanish overnight, I can become a common old fart weakly tickling at the word.
About working when nothing else is left:
Leukemia in remission, feeling better very day. The doc has warned me though, relapses do occur . . . Popped out some poems last night but I will save you from them, no real piss-biters in the batch. Sometimes I just like to write to stay loose. In fact, that’s the way I work it most of the time and when a good poem just happens to arrive along with the others, I think, hey, what the hell, look at this!