Charles Bukowski wasn’t a revolutionary thinker or a philosopher, he was just a guy who worked at a post office and loved to write.
His first novel post office was about his time working at a post office. What makes this novel so great is that charles bukowski is one of the most raw and honest writers there is.
The novel is based around the protagonist Henry Chinaski (which is really Charles).
What follows is my 3 takeaways from the novel.
1. ” Food is good for the nerves and the spirit. Courage comes from the belly—all else is desperation.”
We can resort to food and other simple pleasures for some instant gratification. But the real enjoyment in life comes from doing the things that scare us.
That might be starting that blog/business, writing that book, going to the gym in spite of what others may think.
The real rewards come from things that scare us. The things that take courage. For example, instant gratification such as junk food, drugs, porn, video games etc will all make you feel good in the moment.
But they soon leave you feeling hollow and empty.
The things that are hard and that matter will always make you feel energised, and who knows, you might make the world a better place by doing them.
The thing I like about bukowski is that he lived this. He did the hard things, he wrote almost everyday whilst working brutal shits at the post office for years.
He put his work out there. Which takes courage and he did it his way.
2. “Any damn fool can beg up some kind of job; it takes a wise man to make it without working. Out here we call it ‘hustling.’”
Bukowski died with a net worth of $4 million most of this coming from his book sales as he wrote over 60 books.
Charles worked normal jobs like most of us do, but he found a way to make it doing something that he loved.
On Charles’s gravestone, he has the words “don’t try” written. This was a pithy nugget of advice Charles lived by.
For example, he said that if you had to try to write, don’t do it, the words need to come bursting out of you (paraphrasing).
Charles made it without trying. So can we.
3. ” In the morning it was morning and I was still alive. Maybe I’ll write a novel, I thought. And then I did. “
Charles finished the novel with this line and what I love about it is that it highlights one simple truth:
We can all start something, remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
And if it’s something that we love to do if it’s what we were put on this earth to fulfil, then why should a single one of us put our ambitions off?
Marcus Aurelius – Meditations
“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”