The Life of Charles Bukowski

There are different perspectives on what makes a writer. Some believe that writing is a natural skill. Others believe that you’ve got to strive hard in order to become a writer, while there’s another segment that believes it’s all about getting the right breaks at the right time. And while all of these perspectives are correct in their own right, probably the most compelling stories of all are those of the ones who literally fought for their writing career to prosper. One of those guys is Charles Bukowski, one of the most-renowned writers and novelists in America in the 20th century.

He’s born as Heinrich Karl Bukowski in Germany on August 16, 1920. His family moved to the United States when he was just 3 years of age, To better blend in the United States (to be more specific, in Los Angeles), they even changed how their names are pronounced, turning Heinrich into Henry. Of course, Bukowski would later replace his name to Charles. He had a tumultuous childhood, often being beat up by his father and also being ridiculed in school due to his acne and German accent. But no one can deny that he had an artistic talent.

He went on to pursue a career in writing, with some of his early works published in the likes of Story Magazine and Portfolio: An Intercontinental Quarterly. However, he wasn’t able to break into the world of literary writing immediately, and that led him to quit writing and become a full-fledged alcoholic. During that entire decade without writing, he worked all kinds of jobs, ranging from being a dishwasher to being a poster hanger. Eventually, he came back to writing at age 35, with the epiphany arriving at the most unlikely of situations: during a bout with a near-fatal bleeding ulcer. He has since never looked back, and he eventually became the legend we all know today.

The different struggles of his life reflected largely in his different works. Because of the death of his first love interest, some of his works became an outlet for his grief and devastation. At age 49, he accepted his first full-time writing gig for the Black Sparrow Press. Because of his gratefulness for this break, almost all of his works, including a lot of his greatest ones, are published with Black Sparrow. A supporter of small and independent presses, he also submits some of his works to these struggling companies. Over the years, he has compiled an admirable amount of novels, short stories, and poems, with some of them depicting different situations such as being downtrodden, violence, and sexual imagery. He continued writing until his death in March 9, 1994 due to leukemia.

The impact of Charles Bukowski in society and literature is considerably immense. Not only are his works critically acclaimed, but his life also became the subject of different books, movies, and documentaries long after his demise. Bukowski is proof that if you have enough skill, dedication, and the right breaks, you can make it as a writer.

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