Bukowski and I have very little in common

Five cent tour for Patsaks:

Mostly, I write for myself. I write as if my writing is written for my own consumption and benefit. Hence, I rarely put effort in polishing it up for public consumption even when I put it out there. To understand, to analyze things, and to discover myself in the pinging of the examined object: person, place or thing. If there is echo, I have found myself and somehow I find more of myself in the world than in contemplation.

Romanian Critics

There is a moment in public writing when critics will question why you write- especially so when speaking about Romanians who tend to believe that writing and art is only used for propaganda and marketing. It’s not that they don’t accept the proposition that writing and art can be separate from politics and business and pursue a freedom of expression, but unless the writing or art is crap and nonsense, they will mistrust you. They will imagine sinister motives and methodologies.

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Some imagine me to be a CIA operative. Unfortunately, the CIA cannot afford my hourly rate.

Critics may imagine you (the writer) to be a megalomaniac because, in fact, they envy you for what they perceive as an apparent command of words, laguage, ideas, and authority. They envy something that is not there.

A megalomaniac, by definition, is controlled by their own delusional fantasies of immeasurable wealth, power, or omnipotence. I, myself (for example) would be satisfied with an effective measure of these things. And if I was so lucky, I would trade it all for true and lasting love, a few good books, forty cases of great wine, a great education for my son, to always be there to break bread with my son, and a Ferarri. He’ll like the last one too. Someday.

Of course, the Romanian critic doesn’t really care to know the truth of the matter. He only wants to know what he wants to know. In the case of the Romanian critic, the unkind critic is just bored with them self and, somehow, all the critic really needs is a little cheap entertainment, some juice and a good laugh at your expense.

Most of the time, I can afford them this much without too much complaint.

When you are criticized for what you write because of what it changes for them and the world… without returns, then the critic should really worry. Fortunately, I am not deserving of that kind of scrutiny- not in Romania or anywhere else. Nor can I imagine that my writing shall ever merit such unpleasant attention.

Factotum

A few nights ago, I watched the movie, Factotum. Factotum is a movie based on Henry Charles Bukowski’s novel of the same name. The protagonist, Henry Chinaski, is some kind of wishful, idic metaphor for Bukowski himself. Anyway, Chinaski struggles as a writer as he awaits a publisher to rescue him from his poor attempts to keep on keeping on. Anyway, I didn’t like the movie. I’m sure most Romanians would like Factotum. Myself, I couldn’t relate to Chinaski.

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Chinaski’s has several conceits:

1. That he is a great writer (better than whoever he reads)
2. That he has a clarity about how things are
3. That he has such a command of the word that he can describe them better than anyone esle

I do not share Chinaski’s conceits.

I have always lacked confidence in my style, and I strongly believe that I have read much better writing than my own writing. I am often embarrassed by my style (editor or no editor) and feel that it does not represent the beautiful or terrible thing inside me that I attempted to represent in words. Perhaps, my education in English is incomplete.

If I believe in the things I write, they do not usually represent clarity as much as they represent my examinations of conscience, my explorations and forays into a subject, and my thinking (in progress). Hasty conclusions abound, but conclusions that I will die for (or kill for) are few. In fact, I believe my education in Philosophy is incomplete.

Aside, I realize that there is only one thing that Romanians will die for (or kill for) and that is money.

So it is to be expected if I do horrify them when I draw the line around some things (freedom, property, privacy, and family) and get a murderous look in my eye- if you are intent to do me wrong in this regard. If you want to wink at my beautiful wife in a restaurant while she’s sitting next to me, don’t be surprised if a table comes flying at your face. This would be my civilized reply. Ask anyone who knows me. If we happened to meet in a dark alley, you will not be so lucky.

I may get preoccupied with the weight (meaning) of a word and its sound among the sounds of other words, but I do not despair long for I am compelled to write expeditiously with a sense of the greater value of time. It is a rare occassion when I am pleased with what I have written. The few times it may have happened or almost happened were ecstasy. I am no poet nor have I poetic pith, but I speak with myself in a poetic language of birds that defies my poor grasp of the English language.

Why I write

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Mostly, I write for myself. I write as if my writing is written for my own consumption and benefit. Hence, I rarely put effort in polishing it up for public consumption even when I put it out there.

To understand, to analyze things, and to discover myself in the pinging of the examined object: person, place or thing. If there is echo, I have found myself and somehow I find and recollect more of myself in the world than in contemplation.

This is what I am doing when I write.

Perhaps, for this reason, I have failed to get anywhere with my style.

But I also write in order to reach out to others, to know them and be known by them, and, most importantly, to share things worthwhile.

However, I am stubborn enough to believe that regardless of my poor style and incomplete grasp of the English language, that the message is more important than the style and presentation. Of course, I am mistaken.

This confession reminds me of my early years in Romania when my very own squire, Sancho, and I communicated in a broken English that was more grammatically related to Romanian or something. Sancho (Bogdan) and I understood each other perfectly. And we engaged upon the greatest of adventures.

Conceit and conscience

To be fair to Bukowski and his mini-me, Chinaski, I have my own conceits and a ready conscience. Nor are they modest.

Mine are not the conceits of a writer. Perhaps, they are the conceits of my humanity and my own enthusiasm for the good, the true, and the beautiful. So too my enthusiasm for the table scraps that my imperfect mind could understand from the inspired and humanistic philosophy of the cute little, old dude in the video below.

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These conceits will be totally alien to you- should you be Romanian. For your self-esteem is too low and you lack a deep understanding of what it means to be a human person because you are preoccupied with your slutty concern for money, seaside holidays, trips to nowhere interesting just to impress your friends that you got out of the country for a few days, german cars, and getting a lousy, little apartment. Do I exaggerate?!

I didn’t think so.

I believe that as a human person, I have a dignity that is received from God and deserving all respect and rights thus bestowed upon me as a human person: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness among these natural rights. Since I am not unique in my humanity, I concede the same dignity belonging to the billions of human beings on this planet with only the exception of confirmed and persistent evil-doers – such as my unfair Romanian critics.

I believe also that there is a supernatural dimension to this received dignity and, therefore, rights that must permit and encourage your and my discovery and becoming more truly ourselves in accordance with the good, the true and the beautiful.

And if you can begin to imagine, everything is implicated thereby. Including you and your country. Hence, I own you with my words and writing. And you’ll have to kill me to set yourself free. Or become better persons.

Below, some music to breathe with…

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Stan Faryna
October 22, 2006
Fairfax, Virginia

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FEED UPON other popular posts by Stan Faryna:

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About Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna is a member of the IAB European Leadership Council and National Director of the Interactive Advertising Bureau Romania. He is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others. His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnal National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna is editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2008 by Stan Faryna.

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One Response to Bukowski and I have very little in common

  1. mac157 says:

    Stano,

    Writing is a process. Often a process of rewriting and refining. If accepted, your style is graceful. Let me tell you, after reading my undergrads, your prose is smooth like mousse! Unfortunately, I have to get back to a gritty dirt pile of undergrad papers . . . wish I was paid to read you instead of them.

    Matt

Speak from your heart!

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