If You’re Going To Try, Go All The Way

If You're Going To Try, Go All The Way
If You’re Going To Try, Go All The Way Graphic © InspirationPowerBoost.com

“If you are going to try,
go all the way. There is no other feeling like that.
You will be alone with the gods,
and the nights will flame with fire.
You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.
It’s the only good fight there is.”
– Charles Bukowski

The Life And Work Of Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski, an influential figure in 20th-century American literature, is renowned for his raw, gritty, and often controversial writing style, which reflected the harsh realities of his life. His work, characterized by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work, has garnered a significant following and has had a lasting impact on modern literature.

Early Life: Born Heinrich Karl Bukowski on August 16, 1920, in Andernach, Germany, Bukowski’s family moved to Los Angeles when he was three years old. His early life was marked by poverty and domestic violence, with his father often beating him and his mother. These experiences would later become central themes in his work. Bukowski was introverted and socially awkward, finding solace in reading and writing from a young age.

Education and Early Writing: Bukowski attended Los Angeles City College for two years, studying art, journalism, and literature, but left at the outset of World War II. He moved to New York City to pursue a career as a writer. His early writing attempts were unsuccessful, and after a decade of heavy drinking and menial jobs, Bukowski returned to Los Angeles, where he worked at a post office for over a decade.

Career and Literary Style: Bukowski’s literary career began to take shape in the 1960s when he started writing poetry and short stories. He was 35 when his first poetry book, “Flower, Fist, and Bestial Wail,” was published. His work was often autobiographical, featuring a rough, colloquial style. Bukowski’s alter ego, Henry Chinaski, frequently appeared in his novels, including “Post Office” (1971), “Factotum” (1975), “Women” (1978), and “Ham on Rye” (1982), offering a semi-autobiographical depiction of his life of drudgery and drunken debauchery.

Bukowski’s poetry, collected in volumes like “Love is a Dog from Hell” (1977) and “You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense” (1986), was lauded for its raw, unfiltered honesty and emotional intensity. His work tackled themes of the downtrodden in American society, the struggles of the working class, and the writer’s experience, all conveyed through a lens of brutal realism and a touch of sardonic humor.

Personal Life: Bukowski’s personal life was as tumultuous as his literary characters. His relationships were often chaotic, and his life was marked by alcoholism. Despite these struggles, Bukowski’s work remained prolific and influential. He spent his later years in San Pedro, California, focusing on his writing.

Legacy: Charles Bukowski died on March 9, 1994, in San Pedro, California, from leukemia. His legacy as a writer is significant; he is often cited as a major influence by contemporary authors and is revered for his ability to convey the rawness of life with honesty and grit. His work continues to attract readers with its unapologetic portrayal of the human condition and its underbelly.

Bukowski’s writing style, often devoid of the polish and refinement of traditional literature, brought a unique voice to American literature. His portrayal of the struggles of the average person, his critique of the American Dream, and his exploration of themes like love, death, and survival resonate with readers worldwide. Bukowski’s work remains a testament to the power of writing to reflect the complexities of life and the endurance of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Quotes By Charles Bukowski

Bukowski has left behind a wealth of memorable quotes that capture his unique perspective on life, love, writing, and resilience. Here are some of his notable quotations:

“Find what you love and let it kill you.”

This quote encapsulates Bukowski’s philosophy of embracing one’s passions fully, even to the point of self-destruction.

“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”

Reflecting his embrace of chaos and madness as essential parts of a life fully lived.

“Do not wait for the good writing; it will not wait for you.”

A call to action for writers, emphasizing the importance of persistence and discipline in the craft.

“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

A defiant stance against the inevitability of death, advocating for a life lived boldly and fully.

“There is a light somewhere. It may not be much light but it beats the darkness.”

A nod to optimism and hope, even in the bleakest of circumstances.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

A commentary on the irony often observed in the distribution of confidence and self-doubt.

“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”

This quote speaks to resilience and the importance of enduring life’s challenges with strength.

“I wanted the whole world or nothing.”

A reflection of his ambitious and uncompromising nature.

“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”

Bukowski’s view on the role of an artist in society, emphasizing clarity and accessibility.

“You have to die a few times before you can really live.”

The idea that experiencing hardship and adversity is essential to truly appreciating life.

“Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.”

A contrast between two states of mind and their impact on one’s perception of life.

“Real loneliness is not necessarily limited to when you are alone.”

A poignant observation on the nature of loneliness and its psychological dimensions.

“The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.”

His perspective on the rarity and impact of truly free-spirited individuals.

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