Realist And Rockstar, Writer And Poet

Charles Bukowski once wrote that he hated talking to other writers about writing. He didn’t say why, but I know why I do: they are other writers, and I want to be the only writer in the world.

All through grade school up until high school my peers would butcher words and sentences from readings that I would recite flawlessly. It went straight to my head.

However, I once lost a spelling bee thanks to an extra “n” (I must have spelt “Bananan”); I was one of two remaining contestants.

I then began to write in high school, earning praise from English teachers, which doesn’t come cheap, despite attendance being the only price of a passing grade. In a creative writing class I wrote and read a piece that was met with applause by my peers, from whom I was mostly estranged, so I knew they really liked my writing and not me. I then considered myself a writer.

I held onto my writing abilities as my art skills declined (I am now a mere cartoonist) and I lost interest in music.

I have this image of a writer who is eccentric, hyper, cynical and Woody Allen-ish; or bitter, violent, possibly alcoholic or drug-consuming (the aforementioned Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey), but these people are more poets than writers; they live their work.

I am not one of these people.

There was one day when I was looking out my window in my late teens and as I stared at the tree in front of my childhood home, realized that I would never be a rockstar and should stop thinking that I would be. It was in that moment that my inner-rockstar creed changed; a creed that bore no words but was more of a state of mind. I can’t imagine myself ever being a rockstar writer like Kesey or Bukowski. But I am still a writer.

There is also something awkward about hearing another writer talk about their methods. I usually just don’t care. And if they are better than me, something which I am willing to admit, if not always to their faces unless pressed, then I wind up being jealous and know that they wouldn’t divulge their secret technique if they had one anyway; or, if they were born with some kind of writing talent, there is no way I will ever possess it as they do or understand it and they may not even understand it themselves.

When I hear one of my peers talk about writing, I feel as though I am hearing myself sing. It is mostly awkward, and there are all the real mistakes that transcend the ones on the page: the personal, embarrassing flaws that I know I, being cut from similar cloth, must have as well.

This wouldn’t happen if I were the only writer in the world.

 

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3 comments
  1. abexzguy said:

    Cheers to that.

  2. what i thought the reason why he didn’t want to talk about writing is that because he knew not everyone who writes understand what he/she is doing. and yes bukowski carries too much ego with him but he acknowledged great writers of the past (fante, hemingway, dos passos, etc. people who seem to understand writing). he didn’t want to be the only writer. he actually hungered for people/writers who would understand what they are doing.

    and writing shouldn’t spring from praises or applauses of peers. it should spring from the heart (or where i thought it should come from)

    at the end, we all have our own ways so, ‘just don’t care.’

    • I didn’t say he wanted to be the only writer, I said I did!
      Writing “from the heart” can only work for so long until you run out of ideas.

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