Like the spider…

Yesterday the day got away from me. It started with a run to the post office, then downtown, a few café stops. It also included a chance meeting with somebody whom I had not seen in years. He is special in my life. I was sitting by the lake taking a break from life, watching the ducks on the lake, and then I hear this distinct voice. I got up and walked towards the voice. I would not have recognized him without the voice. He would not have recognized me. Period. In the years past we have both changed, gotten older mostly. His expressions have gotten softer, and his rheumatism gotten worse. We talked about his wife and our families, we are family friends. We chatted for about ten minutes before I had to go.

After so many years this chance meeting was bound to happen. We live in the same neighborhood. It was bound to happen. Finally it did. The joy of such a chance meeting is always double. First there is fact that one finally gets to see somebody who is important in your life but for a multitude of reasons you have been out of touch. Second there is the joy and sobering experience of catching up with what has happened in the last few years since you lost touch. It makes me think that it is not all that bad when you loose touch with people you esteem. When you meet again, the joy is immense. 

Still my day was far from being over. I dropped by at the dojo as there is seminar going on this weekend. I am not yet back up to being on the tatami, but I did try it briefly yesterday and it seems that it is still all there. At least I can still roll on both sides without killing my ailing shoulders. After the seminar I joined my Aikido colleagues for dinner and had interesting chats with Sensei Chris Mooney and Sensei Barbara Imboden and most of those around the table.

With Sensei Chris we ended up on the subject of writing, and I thought that somehow the most sound advice on being a writer is the one that Bukowski has penned. I particularly like the poem ‘how to be a great writer’ vernacular language and all.  Now, how is it that a woman can read Bukowski? I find that behind his macho veneer, there is one sensitive and screaming human as frail as any other. I am not offended by his vernacular language or the sexist clichés, and there are lines in some of his poems that might set your head spinning. Advice is like food. You eat it, chew it, swallow it, digest it, and the parts that your metabolism does not keep, are expelled and rarely, if ever, does excrement smell like roses.

So you want to be a writer by Charles Bukowski

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.

Advertisements