We all have heroes, and all heroes die. My own personal hero was dead long before I even knew he had existed. But Charles Bukowski’s legacy was there for me to feed on it. And, by legacy, I just refer to his writing, and the inspiring way of how and when he started writing. Because this guy was a fucking asshole: alcoholic, deviant, sexist, homophobic, a bit racist… you name it. But, in despite of he being a horrible human being, his literature is as honest, brutal and simple as it gets. And if we consider that he started doing it after he was 35, even better. Heroic, actually.
My first girlfriend hated me to write. She thought it was stupid and that I was an attention seeker. Probably because she felt threatened by the actual attention that, without seeking, I was getting when I had a weekly column in an online magazine. Once the magazine died, it also dragged down the focus I had on me. Uninspired and not supported by anyone, I put the Word in a deep dark corner of my mind, and let it sleep for years.
When I began to write again, I did it because I firmly believed I had something to say. The Truth was pouring out of me in every key stroke, in every sentence on the screen. But as my second most serious relationship evolved -or involved-, I lost the Word again. What Truth was there to tell? My failure? My agony? The struggle of my everyday life? “Fuck that” I thought. “There has to be something else to talk about.” But, ever since, it’s been hard to find this something else.
Bukowski found his muse in the underworld. The whores, the fights, the endless nights of drinking, the gambling, and all things decadent and dirty. There were violence, sex and decay. All fucking in the same bed, all put into words by my hero. My sick, dead, literary hero.
Have you ever wondered what your legacy will be? Have you ever stopped to think about death and it’s unruly nature? Probably, you haven’t. Not if you are young -or young-ish. Not if you live an average life and do what you are supposed to. And certainly not if you are right in the head -or believe to be. And you are not alone there. Most people is like you. You lucky bastard.
I could have died in a very stupid way, and my only legacy would have been a dried up carcase, lost in the Atacama desert. So I haven’t become just careful for my physical wellbeing, and immensely grateful for the gift of Life -as cheesy as it sounds. I have, since that day, also been more conscious about my path and the tracks I leave behind.
I have been accused of being an exhibitionist or making a sort of “telenovela” out of my own life, by writing about it in my blog. In a way, it could be seen as that -and perhaps I should start trying to sell it to Televisa or something-; but it has not been my intention. By sharing my thoughts and emotions, along with my experiences, I am building my own idea of a legacy. If Death decides to catch up with me -and, as I write this line, I knock on wood for it not to happen-, I won’t be prepared at all; but I will at least have something that will outlive me after I’m done breathing.
Charles Bukowski, my hero, is dead. Someday, I will be dead. Will I also be someone’s hero? Hard to know at this point. Probably I will, most likely I won’t. But I’m sure as hell I will keep writing this shit for as long as I can. Maybe some of it will make sense for someone, somewhere, sometime. And maybe, just maybe, that will be good enough.