What I hear this man saying is » we ultimately COMPETE WITH OURSELVES. So let us challenge ourselves .. and try to perfect ourselves, our craft, our gifts, our calling, our souls (.. and by extention » our nation and our world).
Never settle for anything but your absolute best. Because » "there is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter."
Compare Bukowski's quote here with what Hemingway wrote to his publisher.
» The Greeks Want to Meet You
He basically said (paraphrasing) » "It's time, my friends .. time for me to die."
In other words, his fame had spread so far that even foreigners were looking for him. So popularity seems to come with a cautionary tale .. because, for Jesus, this was the beginning of his end.
My takeaway » do the best you can, and beware if your popularity extends beyond the borders of your own country and your own countrymen.
Bukowski nearly made me pee my pants .. while I was reading the Post Office (.. the part where the growling German Shepard buries his snout in Buk's crotch. One chomp away from Eunuchsville). I nearly pissed myself.
I took particular note of something Bukowski said » "You either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge." He said this in response to a question about how you know that you're a writer, which seems to jibe with what Elie said.
I could write volumes on this topic, and may indeed do so some day .. but for now I will simply say that the 'feeling' is one of » increasing constipation .. until you can no longer stand it (.. and go "jump off a bridge").
It feels like you cannot stand yourself. No, it is not a pleasant feeling.
In fact, part of me would actually prefer that less-rather-than-more read what I wrote. (Because then I wouldnt get bizarre comments from bizarre people.)
Most writers who I know personally do not feel this way. They need others to read their stuff in order to feel validated. They are like what Hemingway said about Gertrude Stein »
» But she disliked the drudgery of revision and the obligation to make her writing intelligible, although she needed to have publication and official acceptance.
Her book began magnificently and had great stretches of brilliance, but went on endlessly in repititons that a more conscientious and less lazy writer would have put in the waste basket. For publication in the review, I had to read all of Miss Stein's proof for her as this was a work which gave her no happiness.
I figure that the proper government agency will forward my views to the proper decision makers.
If you make predictions and your predictions start to come to pass .. people will start to pay attention .. even when you prefer they dont.
When they tell me that the Greek's are here, I say, "Tell them I'm not here."
When I first read this quote, I thought Buk was only kidding.
I need to think some more about what Buk said there .. but, for what it's worth, I can relate to the desperate.
Intuitively I feel that, what he's getting at .. is that the writer needs to disconnect from any and every false sense of security .. in order to go where he needs to go.
The more he is rooted to a comfortable sense of security .. the less likely he is to boldly go anywhere. The desperate man will do things (and go places) that the non-desperate man would never even dream of.
And if you are not willing to go to the ends of the earth, into both heaven and hell itself, if necessary .. if you are afraid to confront your biggest fear .. then you got no business with a pen in your hand.
"DROP the weapon, sir .. and step away from the pen."
To throw some contrasting light .. is not love-making best when you loose all attachment to everything else? .. except the other person? .. like you're out there exploring the universe (together).
[ source quote ]
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