this feeling in my bones

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I fear that if I don’t go to bed soon I’ll have trouble sleeping (again) and will oversleep (again) and will be late to work (again). But the need to write is strong. So I have to nurture it, if only a little.

I’ve been thinking about how things have shifted quite a bit in my life lately. I’m doing things I wish I could have done over the past several years but simply couldn’t. My heart wouldn’t let me go there. My heart didn’t know some of these things even existed anymore.

Returning to my writing practice is definitely the best change of all. The act of writing is no longer an obligation. It’s a need, stronger than any I’ve felt since I was in grad school nine years ago.

So, once again, I am thinking of Bukowski. This is one of the most powerful poems I’ve ever read. It resonates deep, deep into my core.

so you want to be a writer?

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.


if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.


when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

Amazing, right? Here is a man who knew—truly knew—what this feeling is like. To be alive, and to live and breathe writing.

Tonight I want to write. I need to write. But my body is winning out. I feel like I’d disappoint Buk if he knew I was setting aside writing for the sake of sleep.

Please don’t tell on me. I’ll be back at it tomorrow. I can feel it.


Author: Kim Sharp

more later

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