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Quotes & Sayings

70 Best Charles Bukowski Quotes on Love, Life & Writing



Here is a list of Charles Bukowski Quotes on Love, Life, and Writing.


Charles Bukowski Quotes


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


“I wanted the whole world or nothing.”


“We don’t even ask happiness, just a little less pain.”


“Those who have been writing literature have not been writing life.”


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


“No light goes out until it goes out. Let’s fight as men, not rats. Period.”


“If I stop writing I am dead. And that’s the only way I’ll stop: dead.”


“If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.”


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


“Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.”


“People with no morals often considered themselves more free, but mostly they lacked the ability to feel or love.”


“If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose.”


“It’s better to do a dull thing with style than a dangerous thing without it.”


“I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.”


“If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”


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


“There are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little.”


“The thing that I fear discriminating against is humor and truth.”


“What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don’t live up until their death.”


“Almost everybody is born a genius and buried an idiot.”


“Bad taste creates many more millionaires than good taste.”


“I would be married, but I’d have no wife, I would be married to a single life.”


“In my work, as a writer, I only photograph, in words, what I see.”


“It’s when you begin to lie to yourself in a poem in order to simply make a poem, that you fail.”


“It’s possible to love a human being if you don’t know them too well.”


“Hey baby, when I write, I’m the hero of my shit.”


“Sometimes I’ve called writing a disease. If so, I’m glad that it caught me.”


“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”


“Goodness can be found sometimes in the middle of hell.”


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


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


“Of course it’s possible to love a human being if you don’t know them too well.”


“What a woman wants is a reaction. What a man wants is a woman.”


“I remember awakening one morning and finding everything smeared with the color of forgotten love.”


“Sex is kicking death in the ass while singing.”


“You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.”


“Writers have to put up with this editor thing; it is ageless and eternal and wrong.”


“The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind. You give your life away to a function that doesn’t interest you.”


“The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship, you don’t have to waste your time voting.”


“Writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers.”


“There will always be something to ruin our lives, it all depends on what or which finds us first. We are always ripe and ready to be taken.”


“If you get married they think you’re finished and if you are without a woman they think you’re incomplete.”


“Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.”


“When I write, when I’m going hot, I don’t want to write more than four hours in a row. After that, you’re pushing it.”


“Some people like what you do, some people hate what you do, but most people simply don’t give a damn.”


“Somebody once asked me what my theory of life was, and I said, ‘Don’t try.’ That fits the writing, too. I don’t try; I just type.”


“We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our education system.”


“Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually clean kitchen, and 8 times out of 9 I’ll show you a man with detestable spiritual qualities.”


“I kept writing not because I felt I was so good, but because I felt they were so bad, including Shakespeare, all those. The stilted formalism, like chewing cardboard.”


“My days, my years, my life has seen up and downs, lights and darknesses. If I wrote only and continually of the ‘light’ and never mentioned the other, then as an artist, I would be a liar.”


“When I say that basically writing is a hard hustle, I don’t mean that it is a bad life, if one can get away with it. It’s the miracle of miracles to make a living by the typer.”


“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”


“We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us.”


“People are strange: they are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.”


“Generally, a writer of force is anywhere from 20 years to 200 years ahead of his generation.”


“I can relax with bums because I am a bum. I don’t like laws, morals, religions, rules. I don’t like to be shaped by society.”


“Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside – remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.”


“The male, for all his bravado and exploration, is the loyal one, the one who generally feels love. The female is skilled at betrayal and torture and damnation.”


“How the hell could a person enjoy being awakened at 6:30AM, by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”


“The more cats you have, the longer you live. If you have a hundred cats, you’ll live 10 times longer than if you have 10. Someday this will be discovered, and people will have a thousand cats and live forever. It’s truly ridiculous.”


“I have not worked out my poems with a careful will, falling rather on haphazard and blind formulation of wordage, a more flowing concept, in a hope for a more new and lively path. I do personalize at times, but this only for the grace and elan of the dance.”


“Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them; I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence.”


“I don’t like the clean-shaven boy with the necktie and the good job. I like desperate men, men with broken teeth and broken minds and broken ways. They interest me. They are full of surprises and explosions.”


“Pain is strange. A cat killing a bird, a car accident, a fire…. Pain arrives, BANG, and there it is, it sits on you. It’s real. And to anybody watching, you look foolish. Like you’ve suddenly become an idiot. There’s no cure for it unless you know somebody who understands how you feel, and knows how to help.”


“This is very important – to take leisure time. Pace is the essence. Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you’re gonna lose everything…just to do nothing at all, very, very important. And how many people do this in modern society? Very few. That’s why they’re all totally mad, frustrated, angry and hateful.”


“When I worked on a magazine, I learned that there are many, many writers writing that can’t write at all; and they keep on writing all the cliches and bromides and 1890 plots, and poems about Spring and poems about Love, and poems they think are modern because they are done in slang or staccato style, or written with all the ‘i’s’ small.”


“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re 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.”


Further Reading

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