I don't think I can embrace a musical about Charles Bukowski. There is one playing in L.A. and it is called "Bukowskical!" and its first song has a line that goes, "there's a little Bukowski in all of you too." I see a lot of people each day and I feel pretty certain that some of them have no Bukowski in them at all. I met Pat Boone once. I saw no Bukowski in him. I also met Richard Simmons a few years back. No Bukowski there either.
That said, I guess I'd like to hear this musical afterall. It might be fun. But what Bukowski fans really need to do is pick up Bukowski: Born Into This. It's due out on DVD on March 27. It's a documentary about his life and it uses a lot of archived footage along with readings by the likes of Bono, Tom Waits, and Sean Penn.
I think about Bukowski and I think back to one cold winter afternoon in my city of Nashville. It was 1990 and I was walking around downtown thinking about my place in this world. I ventured into a small bookstore which is no longer around and wandered the aisles seeing if anything would catch my eye. And one brown spine did. It was called Women and it was written by some guy named Charles Bukowski. I picked it up because I liked the title. I thumbed through it a bit and minutes later I had bought my first book by Bukowski. Within the next year or so, I had bought about twenty of his books.
I've gone through many phases over the years. My taste in literature has expanded, and it has gone this way and that. But I always come back to Buk. I am somehow shaped by him. I try to write and I know that I am somehow influenced by him. That first person narrative, that truth, that honest reflection of the heart and its needs. I live the suburban life, but the musical might be right. There is a little Bukowski in me. And who knows? Maybe Pat Boone does, too.