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.

-Charles Bukowski

DON'T WORRY: by Christopher Bursk

What good is it to worry?
Thoughtless advice. Of course
you should get out of bed and sit by the window
and think and think. Do this
all night if you have to. Go back over
old ground. I can’t complain
your father liked to say,
but of course he could
and did. Worrying
is one advantage 
a human has over radishes and geodes
and garden slugs. Can a flower
stay up all night and fret
about what it should have said and didn’t?
Does a tree argue with itself 
over whether it is giving its leaves too much
or too little independence? 
Will the fire second-guess itself
and stop to apologize 
to the log, the house, the child it has seized?
And the stars?
They go on stupidly burning. 
You look out your window.
Your son is not home. It’s been hours
since the boy slammed the door and drove off
and all you can think of
is wet roads and your son’s foot heavy on the pedal.
Imagine each curve of the highway. Each
disaster. Go ahead:
worry. You are not starlight. 
Not the tree you gaze at. The wind, all night,
mistaking compliance 
for surrender, goes on tugging at leaves. 


- Christopher Bursk