Charles Bukowski, Who Didn’t Hold Back

September 7th, 2006 by jeffrey yamaguchi

The best writers don’t hold back. They not only tell the stories most of us don’t normally reveal, but they do it well. I was thinking about this while I read Factotum by Charles Bukowski. The guy told his hard luck, hard drink, hard women stories in a brutally honest and straightforward way, with a poetic charge careening masterfully at the end of every line.

What got me reading Bukowski again recently was watching the Born Into This documentary. I wrote about that at You watch that documentary and think, How did he get all that writing done?

The answer, or at least one answer to that question, is in his poem “So You Want to Be A Writer?”:

“if it doesn’t come bursting out of you,
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.”

And in terms of not telling the story, the poem covers that as well:

“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.”

The first ten people who leave a comment about Bukowski (and come on, we all have a thought or feeling about Bukowski and his writing, a favorite Bukowski book, a “how I discovered Bukowski” tale), will get a free copy of Factotum.

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