Charles Bukowski

Goading the Muse

This man used to be an interesting writer, he was able to say brisk and refreshing things. at the time I suggested to the editors and the critics that he was one to be watched and also that he had hardly yet been noticed and that he certainly should now be noticed. this writer used some of my remarks as blurbs for his books, which I didn't mind. all of his publications were little chapbooks, 16 to 32 pages, mimeographed. they came out at a rapid rate, perhaps three or four a year. the problem was that each chapbook seemed a little weaker than the one that preceded it but he continued to use my old blurbs. my wife noticed the change in his writing too. "what's happened to his writing?" she asked me. "he's doing too much of it, he's pushing it out, forcing it." "this stuff is bad, you ought to tell him to stop using your blurbs." "I can't do that, I just wish he wouldn't publish so much." "well, you publish all the time too." "with me," I told her, "it's different." yesterday I received another of his little chapbooks with his delicate dedication scrawled on the title page. this latest effort was totally flat. the words just fell off the page, dead on arrival. where had he gone? too much ambition? too much just doing it for the sake of doing it? just not waiting for the words to pile up inside and then explode of their own volition? I decided then I should take a whole week off, be on the safe side, just shut the computer down, forget the whole damned silly business for awhile. as I said, that was yesterday.

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