the wave of bukowski’s poem that took me to sail.
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.
Charles Bukowski was a prolific German-American writer. Experience, emotion and imagination influenced Bukowski to start writing in his thirty-fives. His works portray his intention to write with sore truthfulness and with no apologies. But we are not here to discuss a poet’s life. We are to reflect on it. I recently came across this poem of Bukowski and felt that my obscure writer’s intention and instinct must be put to thought.
Every industry is on its course of development. This verb ‘writing’ works in an industry now. Most of the notable works we cherish and take refuge in now took years and decades to edit and rewrite, take for example, The prophet by Khalil Gibran; and now one ought to get ready with his/her idea and text in few days or in just few hours. I have never seen this letting a writer bring up a masterpiece or even permitting the writer to go for his gut. Those writers who gave us classics to enjoy wrote as if their life depended on it. I wanted to write because I enjoy doing it. And I must admit it to myself, the reality in mind and the reality in life are different and conflicting in themselves.
Thousands of articles, thousands of blogs get published in a day. But relevant and authentic are few. Which one to trust? The information is simply clogging internet and that information is clogging our mind. This generation is informative, true, but lacks knowledge. Internet, through its many formats provides information, extracting knowledge from it is what a wise does. And that one wise man puts it for experience and reflection. We humans must learn to be more accustomed to knowledge and wisdom rather than simply flowing with information that comes handy.
We are taught to write for marks in school, if we instinctively choose to become writers, then we write for money, recognition and also because we love writing. But for many, does it come from soul? The text must sprout from experiences, from imagination, from emotions, from self-actualization but it often sprouts from information itself. Some things come naturally and some with practice, what comes naturally and is practiced is language of the soul. We humans are creating less of the truth and simply summarizing and summarizing. It takes time for indistinct ideas to sprout and it takes more time for it to grow into stem, branches, flowers and fruits. And I am curious, do we give ourselves that much time? Or to put it this way, do we make for ourselves and for the art the required time?
With everything technologically advancing, skills and work ethic must develop as well. And here we need to understand that individualistic and subjective approach is fine, but at the same time we must learn to adopt holistic approaches towards work and life. Art is created that way.
Let’s write as our life depends on it, for we, could give a life to our readers and not just a side-hustle for both.