• SumoMe

As the poems go into the thousands you
realize that you’ve created very

Charles Bukowski
“As the Poems Go”

American author and poet Charles Bukowski is one of the best examples of creating inspiration that I know of.  Bukowski, a gruff and blunt writer known largely for his steam of consciousness poems, has one of the most interesting backgrounds in modern literature.

Bukowski worked as a post office clerk to support himself as he wrote literally thousands of poems throughout the night on his typewriter.  Often only making one copy of the poems, he mailed them to a publisher called Black Sparrow by the dozen. Many of his poems were never published, and most of them were immediately thrown in the trash by the recipient at Black Sparrow.

Nevertheless, Bukowski never gave up, and after 20 years of this daily rejection, Black Sparrow offered him a full-time job as a writer. To this offer, he remarked, “I have one of two choices – stay in the post office and go crazy … or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve.” Bukowski was so grateful for the opportunity to quit his job that he published all of his work with Black Sparrow, a very small and independent press.

During his time as a full-time writer, Bukowski wrote 6 books, he completed his first only a month after taking the job. His poetry compilations are extremely numerous, and the total number of his poems is unknown as many went unpublished. However, Bukowski wrote voluminously often despite having anything “inspiring” to say.

I use that word in quotations because the majority of his poems have something to offer, but many of them are mere ramblings. That’s what I enjoy most about Bukowski–he didn’t care if some of his poems were bad, because many of them were great. Bukowski wanted to write, so he wrote. Simple as that.

Bukowski’s straightforward and intuitive path to writing as a career is one that many men should aspire to follow. If you lack any certain path to success, grab a machete and create your own path. Hack by hack you will slowly clear out the obstacles to your goals.

Bukowski’s mantra was “Don’t try,” and in fact reads on his epitaph. Bukowski explained the phrase, “Somebody at one of these places … asked me: ‘What do you do? How do you write, create?’ You don’t, I told them. You don’t try. That’s very important: ‘not’ to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it.”

While Bukowski often said “don’t try,” his actions clearly showed that his “not trying” means to not wait around to somehow become a writer. Don’t try to be great, just try to be yourself. If you continue to do what you love, either success will find you or you will create your own success. If Bukowski can do it, you can do it.

Have you read anything by Charles Bukowski? What are your thoughts? Enlighten us in the comments below.