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Bukowski's 'so you want to be a writer?' and purpose in life
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breakfast



Joined: 04 Oct 2006
Posts: 2895
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If your writing only serves the purpose to discourage other writers
Dont do it?
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 6:32 pm
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W_e_s



Joined: 10 Sep 2002
Posts: 92
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That first poem sums up why I have only made instrumental music. If I ever end up writing lyrics, I will have to force myself to write them, and I am convinced that people will be able to tell. I have discussed this problem with several people, and the responses generally fall into two categories:

1) "If the music is good enough, then people won't care as much about the lyrics." Two of my good friends hold to this theory, and they can reference tons of awesome songs with mediocre lyrics. I can even recall three interviews that I've read recently (Beirut, Grizzly Bear, and Yeasayer) where the artists themselves say that lyrics are not important to them. Which makes me think, "Why did you write lyrics then?". But then again, I still enjoy their music.

2) "Write all the time and you will be more confident." I have had long discussions with Yoni (Why?) and pedestrian about my problems with writing lyrics. They were both very encouraging, but their general advice was just to practice. It's obvious that practicing would help, but even then, if I force myself to practice, will my writing ever sound natural? That concept reminds me of a hair gel called "Bedhead," which is used to style your hair so that it looks like you haven't styled it.

Bukowski's advice, "Don't do it," is a third option that seems the most realistic. It's actually the advice I've been following all along. That's why I have dozens of instrumental songs and not a single track with lyrics.

I don't even really know why I care so much. What percentage of music that we listen to truly has incredible lyrics? I would say less that 1%.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:23 pm
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19362
Location: Tighten Your Bible Belt
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Can you sing? If you can sing, who gives a shit what you're saying.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:26 pm
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sneeeeb
COCKRING WRAITH


Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 2387
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If you resign yourself to listen to the advice of others when it comes to writing then don't do it. That's the message. Writing is just fancy thinking scrawled in symbols. Can you think? Here is a better question... are you good at going into a trance? I would quit writing if I were you, man.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:27 pm
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MC Pope



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 2986
Location: Adelaide, Australia
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Quote:

unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
donít do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
donít do it.


Whose creative process is ever all one or the other? I've never done anything creative where I didn't spend half the time or less feeling crazy inspired, and the rest banging my head against a wall.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:32 pm
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MC Pope



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 2986
Location: Adelaide, Australia
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W_e_s wrote:

Bukowski's advice, "Don't do it," is a third option that seems the most realistic. It's actually the advice I've been following all along. That's why I have dozens of instrumental songs and not a single track with lyrics.

I don't even really know why I care so much. What percentage of music that we listen to truly has incredible lyrics? I would say less that 1%.


There are so many bands and songs that would be fucking great without the singer and his dumb words dragging the whole thing down. The world needs more instrumental acts.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:35 pm
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malpractice
post haste


Joined: 09 Sep 2007
Posts: 1706
Location: ohio
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W_e_s wrote:
What percentage of music that we listen to truly has incredible lyrics? I would say less that 1%.


you cant be serious.
i can think of HUNDREDS of incredible lyricists

like uh, sage francis for one.
(not kissing ass, i really mean that)
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:43 pm
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Mac Lethal
the one with the back hair


Joined: 19 Apr 2003
Posts: 1920
Location: kc
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Bullshit. Too many people latch on to Bukowski as if his word is written in golden blood or something. Some of the greatest artwork/writing/sculpting etc. was created out of constant nurturing of concepts, and agonizing over perfecting the work.

If you wish to be a writer. You are a writer. However, if a guy like Charles Bukowski can discourage you with a poem like this, perhaps you SHOULDN'T be a writer.

Fucking "passion". It's such a crap concept. Exactly what is passion? A bunch of rampant emotion over something? Tireless drive over pursuing something? Sacrificing quality time with your family for something? Passion is such a vague concept. So many people don't even dip their feet in the waters of life because they can't identify a "passion" for what they are doing. How do you know you don't have the passion? Passion is grown. It's fed, and developed in a lot of cases.

Slug sent my little girl a birthday present today in the mail. When we opened it, inside the package was a notebook full of drawing paper. Inside the notebook Slug had drawn a very cool horse and birthday note for her. The WHOLE night she has been sitting on the living room floor trying to figure out what she wants to draw for him in return. She is 8 years old. She is also very talented with her hands when it comes to drawing/coloring/painting. However, she is almost to the point of frustration because she wants her picture to be perfect. Does this mean she doesn't have the passion for drawing? Because she's frustrated, and it isn't just naturally flowing out of her? She loves drawing. She wants to do something with art when she gets older, but this particular project is stifling her.

The problem is, too many people give up because they are worried they are not going to succeed. Passion is not being afraid of failing, and continuing no matter how bad it beats your ass.

McKinley is 8 years old, and will eventually turn out something dope for Slug. But it isn't coming easy. She is putting pressure on herself.

Fuck Charles Bukowski. Yeah I said it. Let's have a religious war over it.

Pursue whatever you appreciate, and can mentally envision a great piece of. Fucking psychological masturbation over "passion" and "doing it for the love."

Die.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:59 pm
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Dyss



Joined: 05 Sep 2002
Posts: 1517
Location: SWE
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Amen! That is exactly how I feel. Thanks for writing my thoughts out.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:07 pm
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malpractice
post haste


Joined: 09 Sep 2007
Posts: 1706
Location: ohio
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mac's comment made me smile like this :D

it's so true though. if everyone took to heart people who say things like B there, nothing would ever get created for fear of failing or not being good enough, etc.

fuck it. do what you love. take the leap.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:13 pm
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Phil Nothing



Joined: 27 Sep 2007
Posts: 104
Location: a blank planet
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Haha...............
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:15 pm
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malpractice
post haste


Joined: 09 Sep 2007
Posts: 1706
Location: ohio
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i will say though, (now that ive gotten over the "awww" factor of mac's story)..

there's a difference between having a talent that just needs time and practice and effort to develop.. and straight up sucking/delusions of grandeur. i dont believe that just ANYONE can do it. i do believe that you're born with an artistic talent like that, and its things like time and effort and practice that hone your skills and make you great. i dont think it's as automatic and effortless as B makes it sound, but it's not like you can magically be awesome just because you WANT to.

i mean, i really love the discovery health channel, but just because i love watching surgery doesnt mean i can do it.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:57 pm
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19362
Location: Tighten Your Bible Belt
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MC Pope wrote:

Quote:

unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
donít do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
donít do it.


Whose creative process is ever all one or the other? I've never done anything creative where I didn't spend half the time or less feeling crazy inspired, and the rest banging my head against a wall.


Hmmm. Whenever I write, it's like Sneeb said, it's a trance state. Even when I was writing like college papers. The banging my head against the wall part happens more in rewrites I think. Though even then once I get into it, it's not a problem.

But obviously diffrent people have diffrent ways they come into writing, specifically. I mean, Selby Jr. and Hemingway would be two examples I'd give of writers who weren't naturally gifted in any real way. They basically wrote and wrote and wrote, until it wasn't shit. Meanwhile someone like Fitzgerald drunkenly stumbles over to his typewriter and pounds something out in an hour that Hemingway and Selby Jr. probably would never be able to come up with. To some extent that shows. The downside is that writers like Fitzgerald tend to be undisciplined and their work can end up being sloppy compared to Hemingway. Of course sometimes you get someone who is meticulous and who has the gift like a Hunter S. Thompson or Gertrude Stein and that shit is great.

I don't know what it's like for artist's who aren't writers. I can't draw or play an instrument so I have no idea what that process is like and how much work that takes.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:12 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21577
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Mac Lethal 2007 wrote:
Bullshit. Too many people latch on to Bukowski as if his word is written in golden blood or something. Some of the greatest artwork/writing/sculpting etc. was created out of constant nurturing of concepts, and agonizing over perfecting the work.

If you wish to be a writer. You are a writer. However, if a guy like Charles Bukowski can discourage you with a poem like this, perhaps you SHOULDN'T be a writer.

Fucking "passion". It's such a crap concept. Exactly what is passion? A bunch of rampant emotion over something? Tireless drive over pursuing something? Sacrificing quality time with your family for something? Passion is such a vague concept. So many people don't even dip their feet in the waters of life because they can't identify a "passion" for what they are doing. How do you know you don't have the passion? Passion is grown. It's fed, and developed in a lot of cases.

Slug sent my little girl a birthday present today in the mail. When we opened it, inside the package was a notebook full of drawing paper. Inside the notebook Slug had drawn a very cool horse and birthday note for her. The WHOLE night she has been sitting on the living room floor trying to figure out what she wants to draw for him in return. She is 8 years old. She is also very talented with her hands when it comes to drawing/coloring/painting. However, she is almost to the point of frustration because she wants her picture to be perfect. Does this mean she doesn't have the passion for drawing? Because she's frustrated, and it isn't just naturally flowing out of her? She loves drawing. She wants to do something with art when she gets older, but this particular project is stifling her.

The problem is, too many people give up because they are worried they are not going to succeed. Passion is not being afraid of failing, and continuing no matter how bad it beats your ass.

McKinley is 8 years old, and will eventually turn out something dope for Slug. But it isn't coming easy. She is putting pressure on herself.

Fuck Charles Bukowski. Yeah I said it. Let's have a religious war over it.

Pursue whatever you appreciate, and can mentally envision a great piece of. Fucking psychological masturbation over "passion" and "doing it for the love."

Die.


appeals to emotion galore.

I say yes to all rhetorical questions. It's a default function.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:19 pm
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tom inhaler
me too!


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 4398
Location: providence
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i think what bukowski is trying to say is "don't quit your dead end day job".

and also, do what you love to do, but for almost everyone, it's going to bring you nothing more than personal satisfaction.
Post Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:56 pm
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