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Friday, March 26, 2021

Charles Bukowski's Low Opinion of Novelists

Without seeking them out, I have, unfortunately, met many writers, both successful and unsuccessful--I mean at their craft. As human beings they are a bad lot, a distasteful lot, bitchy, self-centered, vicious. One thing they almost all have in common: they each believe their work great, perhaps the greatest. If they become successful they accept it as their normal due. If they fail, they feel that the editors and the publishers and the gods are against them. And, it's true that many bad writers are pushed and manipulated to the top, whatever the reason may be. It's also true that many great writers have starved to death, or almost starved to death, or killed themselves or gone mad, and so forth, and were later discovered as fine (though dead) talents. This historical fact gives heart to the writer who is truly bad. He likes to imagine that his (her) failure is caused by any number of things besides simply being a poor talent.

Charles Bukowski, "The House of Horrors," 1971 in Charles Bukowski: Absence of the Hero, 2010

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