This, beyond the name and dates, is all that is on the tombstone of Charles Bukowski. It seems a cry of despair, or else makes no sense at all, but this is the great Bukowski. It makes complete and wonderful sense.
In a letter to his friend William Packard, he wrote:
“We work too hard. We try to hard. Don’t try. Don’t work. It’s there. It’s been looking right at us, aching to kick out of the closed womb. there’s been too much direction.It’s all free, we needn’t be told. Classes? Classes are for asses. Writing a poem is as easy as beating your meat or drinking a bottle of beer.”
In a recent interview on radio6, Jonny Marr cited Picasso, with ‘Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
These two notions seem to be at odds with each other, but maybe they are saying the same thing.
Perhaps what Bukowski’s notion of trying was to force the muse. He seems to be saying that all his work was inspired, and as he seems to have worked all his life, then inspiration seems to have constantly found him.
Which takes me back to Richard Hawley’s wife who I quoted a few blogs back, ‘Never mistake inactivity with laziness’
It’s one of he big problems trying to be a professional artist of any genre.
When do you stop working?
When does noodling around become a work of art?
How do you know?
and if you the artist are constantly working, how is it possible to relax, to have a life?
Or is being an artist the life we choose or have chosen for us?