Charles Bukowski is the least imaginative great author on earth. No one even comes close. In other novels, one cannot tell precisely to which degree he is uninventive. In Hollywood it is so apparent it becomes hilarious.
This is easily his most humorous and less startling work. It is told in a brutal way, but nothing brutal really happens. This is the old Bukowski (or Chinaski), finally successful. After being marred by life, life finally rewards him. He is recognized as a writer and has now started to write a screenplay. He seems to be mostly disinterested in the whole process the same way that he’s been about mostly everything throughout his life.
The plot is best appreciated by reading the book. I won’t delve into more detail. What struck me to write this were the details that made laugh. Bukowski ran into a lot of prominent movie business figures and his lack of imagination is at full display. Here are some of the examples (if you don’t get the references, give up and press the link):
- The stars of The dance of Jim Beam are Jack Bledsoe and Francine Bowers. Tom Pell was originally intended to play the lead;
- Two of Bukowski’s favourite movies are Pencilhead and Ratman, by Manz Loeb;
- He met on the set a duo of film critics named Rick Talbot and Kirby Hudson;
- He also met with directors Jean Luc-Modard and Wenner Zergog;
Others are mentioned:
You’re probably wondering by now just what this post is all about. Why it is entitled “How James Altucher changed my Life”, and I have yet to mention his name. My 5th grade teacher was the first person to change my life the way Altucher did. I remember little of her. She bore Woody Allen like glasses. A white gown – every girl on my school wore one. 5th and 6th graders wore pink. The older ones wore white. Some teachers wore white. Boys and men alike wore none. One day in class she talked about something that stuck with me. Her son had just started reading a series of books about a young sorcerer and he was enthralled by them. It didn’t make much impact then, but I was out of ideas of what to ask for Christmas. Well, ideas I didn’t lack, but within the allowed budget it struck me as an interesting buy. December 25th I started reading it.
In college I asked Manuel Cruz what author he recommended. He answered “Eça”. They were on first name basis. I soon became.
I stumbled across James Altucher on the web. He seemed like a decent enough guy and I started reading him. He talked about subjects to which I felt deeply related. War, the American religion, college, writing, etc. In one of those posts, James mentioned Charles Bukowski. I’ve never heard of him. You might find that strange, but I don’t know a single Portuguese who has heard of the guy. He said Ham on Rye was “probably the greatest American novel ever written”. I was sceptic. I decided to read it and my scepticism went away.
I’ve just started reading my 6th Bukowski novel. He has influenced me in such a way I greatly changed my writing style. I was used to reading authors like Dickens, Saramago or Eça de Queirós whose styles consisted of long elaborated sentences. Bukowski introduced to the opposite style of writing. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have started this blog. I would never dare to write in English if I was to mimic the style of Dickens – I would make more grammar than anyone would care to count. If it wasn’t for James Altucher, I would have never read Bukowski.
That’s how James Altucher changed my life.