Bukowski Also Said It

Cliff Burns really inspired some posts today. There’s a discussion here. And now this post is a follow-up/companion to the post below, Why Don’t More People Read?

I’m going to do this without the blockquote that boxes and then italicizes all text:

Charles Bukowski: Laughing with the Gods, interview by Fernanda Pivano

PIVANO: When did you decide to become a writer? When your teacher said that you were good?

BUKOWSKI: Uh-huh. I forgot all about that. I decided to become a writer when I started reading the Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s — two magazines with supposedly good writing. The New Yorker too. I would read these short stories they’d publish and they were absolutely nothing. They said nothing, they did nothing, they . . .

PIVANO: John Updike.

BUKOWSKI: Yes, I include him. And they were terrible, they just bored me. There was no life to them, and yet, these people were getting famous writing these stories, and I thought, I know their secret: They try to write about nothing at all, in the most boring way possible. No, I really felt that. I said, this must be some kind of snob inner circle secret. I must write something very boring that says nothing at all for pages and pages, and say it so boring that everybody gets bored. Then you think, this is really good writing, because I’m so bored, and nothing is said. So I tried the other way, I tried to say: A guy comes home from work, his wife screams at him, and he murders her. Like, a factory worker. They didn’t want that. So . . .

PIVANO: They? Who are they?

BUKOWSKI: The editors. I don’t know, I guess I became a writer, not so much because I thought I could be a writer, but because all the known writers that were famous seemed to me to be so very bad. But for me to just stop and let them take over with their dull badness seemed to be an atrocity. So I started typing, trying to say it the way I thought it should be said — what was happening, but in a simple way.

–pgs. 92-93

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Nonfiction, Writers - Dead, Writing

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