The insane art that is Charles Bukowski’s writing is so beautiful only his own words can describe it.  He wrote this “poem” about writing and as I read it over and over again I realized he’s not talking about just us writers, he’s talking about anything we do that’s truly worthy, noble.

I love it so much I keep reading it and it finally occurs to me how much he got it so wrong.  Every time he says “don’t do it”, I would replace that with “do it anyway”.  In my life, practice yields the most fruitage… even when I suck, when I feel worthless and useless and totally ridiculous, the benefits and blessings of “doing it anyway” is immeasurable in my life.  A thousand times blessings have come up when I do hard, push thru, carry on.

So You Want to Be a Writer
By Charles Bukowskicharles

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 your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
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 doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
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 thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
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
burning 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 on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

 

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