Charles Bukowski on the Ideal Conditions and Myths of Creativity, Illustrated

“Air and light and time and space have nothing to do with it and don’t create anything except maybe a longer life to find new excuses for.”

Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920–March 9, 1994) — man of outrageous daily routine, curious creature of proud cynicism and self-conscious sensitivity, occasional pessimist with a heartening view of the meaning of life — had a singular way of conveying immutable wisdom in his seemingly simple, often crude, but invariably expressive verses. His 1992 poem “air and light and time and space,” found in the altogether fantastic anthology The Last Night of the Earth Poems(public library), is a poignant and soulful reminder that “inspiration is for amateurs” and grit is the real key to creativity — or, as Tchaikovsky famously put it, “a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.”

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