friend of the busblog, heather the rabbit havrilesky aka ask polly got a great letter this week and responded to it in the perfect way.
someone wrote to her and said that shes a freelance writer and shes done ok but some of her friends have done better and she hasnt really gotten over the hump yet and oprah hasnt shined her light on her yet and well “Should I Just Give Up on My Writing?“.
and heather, writing in new york magazine answered perfect and said YES FOOL! (jk) but the one little minor thing she left out of her otherwise sparkling incredible response was the lesson of charles bukowski.
americas greatest poet WAS NOT DOING OK when he was 50. he wasnt living in silver lake, he wasnt living with a spouse who supported him emotionally, he wasnt any freelance writer, he was struggling, he was living in east hollywood working for the post office. he hated the post office. he was drunk. he was ugly. he was overweight. he had anger issues. he smoked. he gambled. he got in fights. he won zero fights. he was being rejected over and over and over.
but he kept writing. sometimes for money. sometimes because he was a horny middle aged man and some sex papers would let him write out his bizarre fantasies for beer money. but he kept writing.
it wasn’t UNTIL he was 50 that a rich, visionary publisher from santa barbara discovered bukowski and said dude whatever the post office is paying you i’ll pay you just write and i’ll split the royalties with you.
the lesson of bukowski is keep doing what you love. who cares that your friends are on tv or writing for new york magazine or married or have a house or two houses or three houses. or fourteen wives. or all their hair or the hair of fourteen sheep dogs.
keep doing what you love.
or if for some reason youve never gotten around to start doing what you love: start. because. thats why. start! some people never get the chance to start. they fool around with fireworks and their hands get blowed off. or they get involved in a dead end job or a super sexy woman and their lives get destroyed.
the lesson of bukowski is motor through all of that. we have so many hours in the day. surely there are a few of them where you could stop watching tv or stop reading books or stop sleeping and sleeping and sleeping and you will get off your ass and express yourself, madonna. surely there is an ounce of courage that you can squeeze out into the juice glass of life and share.
surely you know that your friends are wonderful but they are not you and you have a unique story to tell that is all yours and no one elses and only you can deliver it. and if you dont tell it no one will, which is a lie, actually someone will but, spoiler alert: they will fuck it up royally.
so you better write it down and quickly.
the lesson of bukowski is god bless oprah but she’s dunzo and theres no one else whos gonna save your soul except jewel and shes happily married to a rodeo cowboy so you better work rupaul.
that is what i learned from bukowski and i never would have learned it if he had given up on writing and just did his post office gig and drank and whined that he didnt have hella twitter followers. so you write your damn deal and f the haters in ur head.