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My Interview with Charles Bukowski, Poet, Drunk, Reprobate, Genius

I would pay a lot of money to interview the great authors of our time.  Steinbeck, Bronte, Hemingway, Austen, Twain, London, Service, John McDonald, Robert Parker.  But at the top of my bucket list would be Henry Charles Bukowski {1920-1994}.  So I asked myself would it be so very strange or inappropriate to pretend what it might have been like? Post an interview with ‘Hank’ Bukowski even though he’s been dead almost twenty years? The answer was no!

I imagined I was sitting with him, in a corner booth, in some  neighborhood watering hole.  Old die-hard drunks sit up at the bar minding their own business.   I can see tree roots growing from the seat of their pants into the seat of the bar stools. Wet, green tendrils curl around the stool legs.  They don’t speak.  They stare into their empty glass or into their own smoky reflection in the mirror on the back wall. What do they see? A long-lost heaven?  A nearby hell? 

  Bukowski has already finished his first drink and signals the bartender for another.  I am paying of course.   (viewer discretion advised ~ language)

The Interview:

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?

CB.  Anywhere they’ll leave me the hell alone.  I’m not particular.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? 

CB.  A fifth of bourbon, a couple packs of cigarettes. Quiet. Enough paper, which can be a problem when I’m between jobs.

Q. What is your mode of writing?

CB. A pencil or pen, I don’t care.  Paper. My Remington typewriter if it’s not in pawn.  Sometimes the bartender will let me have the left over stubs of pencils from around the bar. Many years ago, this drunk in a suit was sitting next to me, over there at the bar.  He was complaining that his company had bought something called a ‘computer’ and they were making him learn how to do his sales reports on it.  He hated it but he said,  ‘I fear that it is the face of the future, Hank.’  Goddamn machines, taking over the world and us  bit by bit.  I’ll stick to my pencil and paper.

Q. Do you have a set time each day to write or do you write only when you are feeling creative?

CB.  Listen, girl,  I wish there were more times when I didn’t ‘feel creative’; didn’t need to write.  Occasionally when I’m f—ing or I’m blind drunk, or both, I can take a break and forget.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

CB. Legitimate writers don’t procrastinate.

Q. How does a writer begin? How do you write, create?

CB. You don’t try. That’s very important: not to try, when it comes to Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing and for how long?

CB. I’m lost right now.  Wait fifteen minutes…..(he stared into space) nope, still lost.  Does that answer your question?

Q. Who or what is your ‘muse’ at the moment?

famous authors, Charles Bukowski, interviews, best selling authorsA.  Ha! You’re funny.  Let’s see, junkies, slant-eyed women, barkeeps, dogs, cats, mocking birds, my landlady, bums, women….oh yeah, women most definitely.  War, rain, politicians, pigs, beautiful young girls as they walk by, Jane, the shoeshine man, booze, my father, gravediggers, whores in Mexico.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

CB. I don’t remember…a long, long time ago.

Q. How long after that were you published?

CB.  Decades.  I sent my stuff to every sex rag, publisher, and agent I could find.  It was always  rejected until one day It wasn’t.   I’d sell my blood so I could buy stamps.

Q. What makes a writer great?

CB. You can’t have rules.  No woman who is so important that she gets in your way.  No job that can keep you from what you have to do. Knowing that sometimes when you’re drunk you are a better writer.famous authors, Charles Bukowski, interviews, best selling authors

Q. ….and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like? 

CB. There’s never ‘no book’ for me. It might not be down on paper yet, but it’s always there.  When my head gets so full it might explode then I find a pencil and write it down.  I don’t give a shit if a book is ‘finished’.  That’s what publishers are for.  I just send them my stuff and if they print all of it or some of it, I’m happy.  The thing that I won’t let them do is change anything.  Not a word.  It drives ’em crazy.

Q. What inspired your stories and your poetry?

CB.  Mostly the streets of L.A.  And don’t call my shit ‘poetry’. That’s what the suits call it so people will buy it.   “…my poems are only bits of scratchings on the floor of a cage…”  Mostly I just write what I see and how I feel about it.  And I see a lot of sick shit.  And I don’t feel so good about it.

    Q. Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know?

CB. Yeah, a few things:  ‘We have wasted History like a bunch of drunks shooting dice back in the men’s crapper of the local bar.’  and……

‘There will always be something to ruin our lives, it all depends on what or which finds us first. We are always ripe and ready to be taken.’  and….

‘The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting’……. and finally,

‘I don’t like jail, they got the wrong kind of bars in there.’


MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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What are Writers? Crazy?

……..to want, to need to be writers??  I am happy (and nostalgic) to report that the world of writers has not changed all that much…..I came across these quotes and laughed.  Writers of the World!  We are not alone!

john steinbeck, authors, writing, quotes from famous authorsJohn Steinbeck:  ‘The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.’


Edna St. Vincent Millay
:  ‘A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his (or her)authors, quotes from famous authors, writing, writers, bloggers pants down….if it is a good book nothing can hurt you.  If  it is a bad book nothing can help you.’

famous quotes, famous authors, writing, writers


Somerset Maugham:  ‘There are three rules for writing a novel.  Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.’

Trisha Sugarek ‘Writing is a lonely business.  You pour your heart and guts into the written famous quotes, authors, writers, writingword, often exposing what you’ve experienced in your own life.  You nurture it, feed it, trim its toe-nails, wash its hair, dress it up and send it out into traffic.’  more »

Chuck Dixon Interview (part 3)

a.comicbookstore.BBTWhen I achieved doing this interview, I won’t lie.  I wanted to run into Stuart’s comic book store and yell, ‘I’m interviewing Chuck Dixon!’ For those of you who have no idea who Stuart is…well you are not living to your full capacity if you’re not watching, The Big Bang Theory’.
Chuck was so generous with his answers so let’s sit back and enjoy the final part.
Q. What makes a writer great?

CD. If a writer’s work can survive a few generations past his initial readership. History is filled with writers who were considered white hot in their era and forgotten only a few years past their death and never re-discovered.

Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

CD. Everyone works differently. No writer’s approach is the same as another….. more »

Attention! All Writers Out There!

There’s a BLOG out there that is dedicated to the art of writing and honing your craft. Yep!  I’m talking about mine and this is a shameless promo.  You won’t be disappointed.

For three years now I have published my posts twice a week and it’s always something about being a better writer.  Once a month I interview best selling authors such as Dean Koontz, Sue Grafton, Jeffery Deaver, Sherryl Woods, Anne Gracie, CW.CoverRaymond Benson, Lee Goldberg, Charles Bukowski and dozens more.   My goal is to inspire other writers to write more, tell their stories, try writing a play, or maybe some poetry.

Sign up on my home page  and receive an email with each day’s post.  Delete it if it doesn’t interest you.  It’s that simple.  Recently I have developed a series of ‘creative writing’ journals with ‘How To’ tips and famous quotes to inspire my fellow writers.  http://www.writeratplay.com/category/a-writers-take/ more »

Review~~’The City’ by Dean Koontz

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing REVIEW ~~ ‘The City’ by Dean Koontz  (5 out of 5 quills)

True to Dean Koontz’s style he starts the reader off with a great tale of a musical family….Grandfather is a ‘piano man’ , mother is a jazz singer and eight year old Jonah is a wanna be piano man without a piano.  You see, Mom is a single parent, married to an absent, then back again, no good, shiftless man.  Theirs is a tight-knit lower middle class family squeaking by.The.City.Koontzindex

Then on about page 100, the weird stuff starts to happen and you know you are back in another of Koontz’s scary plots.  ‘The City’ does not disappoint;  you’ll love the characters in the story, good and bad.  The story is written in first person from Jonah’s point of view and it certainly took me back to being just a kid with very real monsters under the bed and in the bedroom closet.  And Jonah Kirk is a great kid; not too good, he’s still a kid and isn’t above lying to get out of potential trouble. He has a mentor who becomes an unlikely but loveable friend when he needs a friend the most.
As always, it’s a chilling, terrifying tale where you hope that good triumphs over evil but, not until the last few pages, will you know if Koontz sees it your way.


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Interview with best selling Author, Lee Goldberg (part 1)

Goldberg.1photo-3     I first met Lee while publishing my interview with Janet Evanovich.  He recently co-wrote The Chase with Janet.  His two careers, novelist and TV writer, merged when he wrote the eight books in the Diagnosis Murder series of original novels, based on the hit CBS TV mystery that he also wrote and produced. He followed that up by writing fifteen bestselling novels based on Monk, another TV show that he worked on. So I was delighted when Lee agreed to be interviewed.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please upload a photo/s of your shed, room, closet, barn….)

A. I have an office in my house where I write surrounded by books and James Bond posters (I alternate the posters every month or so). But I can, and do, write just about anywhere.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.) more »

Interviewing Best Selling Authors…looking back!

authors, writing, writers, interviewsThis is my one year anniversary of interviewing best selling authors and I’m amazed at the success of it!!  Authors have been so generous with their writing process and their time.  The interviews are on-going and currently we are booked through April, 2014.  It’s always a thrill for me when busy, well-known authors are so generous with their answers that I must break it up into ‘parts’. more »

Famous Quotes….and What I Think!

Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas

“My education was the liberty I had to read indiscriminately and all the time, with my eyes hanging out.” – Dylan Thomas

“When I’m not writing, I am reading….and I think, along with many other authors, that it makes me a better writer.” Me

“I went to brush something off my cheek and it was the floor.”  Unknown.

“But it had to have been said by one of these famous drunks.  Hemingway? Tennessee Williams? James Joyce? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Bukowski?”  Me

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

 “There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  Hemingway

“Bleeding words…..things could be worse. I live for those days.”  Me

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A Chat with Raymond Benson, Author (part 2)

Raymond at the Spy Museum

Raymond at the Spy Museum

TS. ‘This photo speaks loudly about the rewards of overcoming procrastination, doesn’t it??’

Part 2 of 3 ** My Interview with Raymond Benson

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

A. If you don’t have a real deadline from an employer, then make one for yourself. Just tell yourself, “I’m going to finish this by the holidays,” or whatever, and stick to it. It takes discipline, and you might have to work at it, but hey, being a writer is, after all, a job.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing and for how long?

A. Never, because I take care of all the instances of getting lost during the Outline phase. I’m a firm believer in outlining a novel prior to writing it. I know many writers don’t, and that works for them, but for me, I find it to be an invaluable tool. I spend a month or two on it, and it’s in that document I work out the plot, the twists and turns, the red herrings, and I structure the story into a dramatic piece, the entirety of which I can look at with a bird’s-eye view. It’s like doing a prose storyboard for the novel. Believe me, it’s easier to throw out a few paragraphs of an outline when you don’t like the way the story is going, than it is to throw out two or three chapters. So I do all of my hair-pulling and angst-spouting during the Outline phase, which then makes the longer, more tedious phase of Writing much easier. more »

Interview with Raymond Benson, best selling Author (1of3)

RaymondBensonAtWorkRAYMOND BENSON is the internationally-acclaimed author of thirty published titles. The third book in his most recent thriller series—THE BLACK STILETTO: SECRETS and LIES— was  released today.   He took out time to interview with me and generously talked at length about his writing process and world.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?

A. I have an office at home, and it’s exclusively used for that purpose. It’s full of books and filing cabinets, artwork, trinkets, a CD player, and of course, my desk and computer. There’s even a lava lamp, although I don’t use it as much as I should! On my desk is a photo of my wife, an “action figure” replica of the black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and a pebble from the beach at Goldeneye, in Jamaica, the home where Ian Fleming wrote all the Bond novels. And a slinky, to play with during the times when I have to sit there and ponder.

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