At the core of all good writing ( and copywriting) is the sentence.
I picked up Bukowski for the very first time this year, beginning with arguably one of his most widely-read works, The Post Office.
(I wrote down my favorite line from it and the other twenty-five books I’ve read so far this year, here).
Two, maybe three pages in, I felt like slapping myself in the face — I couldn’t fathom how I had spent so much time on this planet having never read him.
While his writing style was less polished than Hemingway’s, it had just as much punch and arguably more tenacity.
For the unfamiliar, reading Charles Bukowski is like going for a ride on a Honey Badger — nothing is off-limits, nothing is too scary to write about and you never know what the hell he is going to do or say next.
36 Charles Bukowski quotes (make sure you back is to a wall).
I did some digging and in my opinion, here is Bukowski’s hardest-hitting lines. Make sure you’re sitting down. If you begin to feel light-headed, take a breather. You’ll want to brace yourself for this prose.
1. Great art is horse shit, buy tacos.
2. An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.
3. Find what you love and let it kill you.
4. Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.
5. People run from rain but sit in bathtubs full of water.
6. Nothing is worse than to finish a good shit, then reach over and find the toilet paper container empty. Even the most horrible human being on earth deserves to wipe his ass.
7. Baby, I said, I’m a genius but nobody knows it but me.
8. I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.
9. The tigers have found me and I do not care.
10. And yet women-good women — frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul, and what was left of mine, I wanted to keep.
11. Bad taste creates many more millionaires than good taste.
12. The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind. You give your life away to a function that doesn’t interest you.
13. I wanted the whole world or nothing.
14. How the hell could a person enjoy being awakened at 6:30AM, by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
15. Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.
16. If you get married they think you’re finished and if you are without a woman they think you’re incomplete.
17. Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.
18. The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it — basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.
19. I want so much that is not here and do not know where to go.
20. My beerdrunk soul is sadder than all the dead Christmas trees of the world.In my work, as a writer, I only photograph, in words, what I see.
21. If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. 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. It’s the only good fight there is.
22. What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.
23. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us.
24. Dogs and angels are not very far apart.
25. Anything is a waste of time unless you are fucking well or creating well or getting well or looming toward a kind of phantom-love-happiness.
26. Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.
27. People are strange: they are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.
28. You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.
29. The best often die by their own hand just to get away, and those left behind can never quite understand why anybody would ever want to get away from them.
30. Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must live.
31. I don’t like the clean-shaven boy with the necktie and the good job. I like desperate men, men with broken teeth and broken minds and broken ways. They interest me. They are full of surprises and explosions.
32. Beware of those who seek constant crowds; they are nothing alone.
33. He asked, What makes a man a writer? Well, I said, it’s simple. You either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge.
34. In this land some of us fuck more than we die but most of us die better than we fuck.
35. I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.
36. We drink our coffee and pretend not to look at each other.
By Cole Schafer (everything except the 36 lines you just read).
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