My Reckoning With Recognition and Praise. Me, Madness, Fire and Bukowski


Last week I published a raw home-movie of my past year leading up to my divorce. I have been in this whirlwind of praise and progress and fighting my inner-dialogue that is often focusing on those who cast stones. I could get lost playing out the cringes, laughs and feigned gag gestures. Instead, I’m going to get lost in the absolute wonder of the unexpected. I knew I’d survive. I knew I’d put those I love first and that my children would be informed. They’d feel respected and showered with supportive love and presence in this transition. I committed to that.

At best, I thought I’d get back on my feet. I’d make some new friends and put one foot in front of the other. It’s what I do. What I was never prepared for (and still can’t quite comprehend.) is that anyone (Not just a friend trying to encourage me!) would be touched or inspired. If I were contrived or creating pretty word for puffery and stories I can deal with that. I often think through story plots, audience reception and conveying a point. I can accept the praise for such writing and feel secure in knowing I created something or worked at it, made blank pages into an experience.

To soul-bare is entirely different. To throw all of it at the screen, paper and into the ether fearlessly was merely an act of self-sustaining. It’s a small rebellion against all notions of “what should be” vs “what I am.” To have my true feelings resonate and compel people to send beautiful letters and stories and love, that I was not ready for. I didn’t make this. I just am. It all feels foreign and surreal.


I didn’t act in bravery. In fact, I was selfish, lost, bargaining with grief, self-esteem and loss. I lied…to myself, to everyone, and then I stopped lying all together. A bit of a polar flip. I also stood in it, maybe I even took on more than I should have? At this level of self-effacement, what are degrees of shame or blame? These words, are not my best work, they are not even “work. ” They fall out of my fingers like my hair in such stress.

They just are. And I am reeling in the beauty and fear of knowing that all criticisms and judgments usually come from the owner and I, the catalyst, brought it out to surface. So to be fair, Shouldn’t this be my belief with praise? I’m more touched to see so many people find permission and acceptance to let their own strength, truth and self-love bubble up. It is not mine that touches them; it is their own souls feeling heard in my story. It’s overwhelming, and I am beyond gratitude, I am compelled to find a better more revered word to encapsulate how blessed I feel.

I’m still nobody to most. I’m not changing the world and I know how fleeting all things are, so I pause to push myself to just be in it. It will most likely be gone tomorrow or in a month, but today I am inspired. Charles Bukowski was raw, off-putting, lowbrow and in your face. I used to loathe his work. Now, I see his genius is in owning himself. Owning all of it. I hope to stay that honest. To not get beat down by the discomfort of others and to never stop trying. Truth makes me want to be better, kinder, and more flexible. If I never hear another positive word of encouragement, this past week has filled me up. It’s pure and it is petrifying, but I’m going to return it’s power back out to universe, or die trying.

Oh, and lastly take this grammar gods. Some times, not often, but sometimes content outshines the rules.


“An Almost Made Up Poem.”

by Charles Bukowski

I see you drink­ing at a foun­tain with tiny

blue hands, no, your hands are not tiny

they are small, and the foun­tain is in France

where you wrote me that last let­ter and

I an­swered and nev­er heard from you again.

you used to write in­sane po­ems about

AN­GELS AND GOD, all in up­per case, and you

knew fa­mous artists and most of them

were your lovers, and I wrote back, it’ all right,

go ahead, en­ter their lives, I’ not jealous

be­cause we’ nev­er met. we got close once in

New Or­leans, one half block, but nev­er met, nev­er

touched. so you went with the famous and wrote

about the fa­mous, and, of course, what you found out

is that the fa­mous are wor­ried about

their fame — not the beau­ti­ful young girl in bed

with them, who gives them that, and then awak­ens

in the morn­ing to write up­per case po­ems about

AN­GELS AND GOD. we know God is dead, they’ told

us, but lis­ten­ing to you I wasn’ sure. maybe

it was the up­per case. you were one of the

best fe­male po­ets and I told the pub­lish­ers,

ed­i­tors, ” her, print her, she’ mad but she’

mag­ic. there’ no lie in her fire.” I loved you

like a man loves a wom­an he nev­er touch­es,

on­ly writes to, keeps lit­tle pho­to­graphs of. I would have

loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a

cig­a­rette and lis­tened to you piss in the bath­room,

but that didn’ hap­pen. your let­ters got sad­der.

your lovers be­trayed you. kid, I wrote back, all

lovers be­tray. it didn’ help. you said

you had a cry­ing bench and it was by a bridge and

the bridge was over a riv­er and you sat on the cry­ing

bench ev­ery night and wept for the lovers who had

hurt and for­got­ten you. I wrote back but nev­er

heard again. a friend wrote me of your sui­cide

3 or 4 months af­ter it hap­pened. if I had met you

I would prob­a­bly have been un­fair to you or you

to me. it was best like this.


“Shimmer with a smile. Life is hard, bloom anyway.”

The Huffington Post






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