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About

Writing Tips from Bukowski - Don't Try!


I've always loved Charles Bukowski. Though much of his writing is "off" when he hits it - he's dead on. God like.

I was reading today, thinking about the writing process and Bukowski's wonderful poem, "IF I Taught Creative Writing" came rushing back to me. So here it is below. Along with a recent Bukowski video I made of his immortal "Broken Shoelace". -- He always gives good advice.

If I Were to Teach Creative Writing

now, if you were teaching creative

writing, he asked, what would you

tell them?

I’d tell them to have an unhappy love

affair, hemorrhoids, bad teeth

and to drink cheap wine,

to keep switching the head of their

bed from wall to wall

and then I’d tell them to have

another unhappy love affair

and never to use a silk typewriter

ribbon,

avoid family picnics

or being photographed in a rose

garden;

read Hemingway only once,

skip Faulkner

ignore Gogol

stare at photos of Gertrude Stein

and read Sherwood Anderson in bed

while eating Ritz crackers,

realize that people who keep

talking about sexual liberation

are more frightened than you are.

listen to E. Power Biggs work the

organ on your radio while you’re

rolling Bull Durham in the dark

in a strange town

with one day left on the rent

after having given up

friends, relatives and jobs.

never consider yourself superior and /

or fair

and never try to be.

have another unhappy love affair.

watch a fly on a summer curtain.

never try to succeed.

don’t shoot pool.

be righteously angry when you

find your car has a flat tire.

take vitamins but don’t lift weights or jog.

then after all this

reverse the procedure.

have a good love affair.

and the thing

you might learn

is that nobody knows anything–

not the State, nor the mice

the garden hose or the North Star.

and if you ever catch me

teaching a creative writing class

and you read this back to me

I’ll give you a straight A

right up the pickle

barrel.

Downloads: 243

Comment by George Swen on October 13, 2009 at 8:18am
So true... and so simple (I like simple things). My favourite poem of his (Splash) is the answer why we are so amazed of some poetry and writing - because it /at that particular moment/ attunes with our feelings. You can finally be one with something.
I love his voice. Strong, cogent, mellow.
Where I could find more of these videos??
Thank you David, great inspiration.

Supporter
Comment by ddeubel on October 13, 2009 at 9:15am
George,

Yes, simplify, simplify, simplify - those are the 3 cardinal virtues of living right.....and writing right.

I have done a few other karaokes of Bukowski from the few mp3 recordings I have ( I think I got them at the Bukowski archive????). Also some of Billy Collins. See the two examples below, one in our video section here.

My fav. poem of Bukowski, besides "Born into this" (have you seen the documentary?) is "The Genius"



Logs from David Deubel on Vimeo.

Comment by George Swen on October 13, 2009 at 12:39pm
I met a genius - for me a definition of creativity. A good choice:-)

Supporter
Comment by ddeubel on November 2, 2009 at 12:32pm
Here's a version of The Shoelace I came across. This poem speaks VOLUMES , almost screams in some fashion about our hidden condition....

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