Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Patron Saint of Buk

Like many people, I hate my job. Well...it's not the job itself that I fucking hate, but the folk in management. Pea-brains and sadists, the lot of them.

However, I'm glad I have a job during this freaking hideous Bush Depression. I'd hate to be out in the Republican-ravaged economy searching for work that pays well. It ain't gonna happen.

Today I started in on a book packed with stores and essays by Charles Bukowski. I have to say--in the past twenty years or so--Bukowski is my favorite writer. As with myself, he was an employee of the US Postal Service. He served two different times in two different capacities. First he was--as I--a letter carrier. I think that lasted two and a half years before he just walked away from it. Then, years later, desperate for gainful employment and fearing that he was going to be homeless again, he landed a job as a routing clerk. He went eleven and a half years on that one.

Fortunately, he found a patron who was willing to pay him to quit the Post Office and write full time. Or just hang around and not write. It was a sweet deal. But what he did was walk away from the USPS forever and begin to write full time, producing a vast and impressive body of work. I was stunned to learn that he wrote his first novel--POST OFFICE--in nineteen days! Nineteen days! It's a true work of art and to realize that he wrote it in less than three weeks...damn.

For myself, I can't quit the USPS. For one thing, I don't have a patron. For another, I have a family and a certain lifestyle that they expect. So unlike good old Buk I can't just sign the resignation papers and walk away from that place.

But my hat's off to Buk for being able to do it. And double for the patron who allowed it to happen.

What I'm reading right now. A nice volume of uncollected prose from Bukwoski. Carole spilled some paint sample on it. It dried okay and I think I can scrape it off the cover...but you know what? I think it's appropriate, somehow. I'll leave it that way.

2 comments:

Lawrence Roy said...

A second volume called *Absence of the Hero* was released last year.

HemlockMan said...

I knew there was a second volume but I just haven't picked it up yet.