Live like this

There is a poem I used to keep at my grinding, 50-hour-a-week, middle-management desk job. It is called “Air Light Time Space” by Charles Bukowski. If you’ve never read it, I encourage you to find a copy.

You see, for most of you reading this – you young starry-eyed creative types – life is flung out before you like a field of California poppies, and you’re poised to run barefoot through it. You have your writerly fan club and perhaps your supportive family encouraging you to chase that dream of publication. No one has yet to take the reality-stick to you.

Trust me. That bludgeoning is eminent.

You will, at some point, face your own personal horror—and the first thing to faint dead away will probably be your level one unevolved dream. And when it does, you won’t find a super potion in your little backpack to bring it back to combat power. Artistic dreams are fragile capricious creatures. Without constant protection and nurturing, the worries of this world will absorb them completely, leaving you with nothing but a gnaw in your gut and a loop of “What if…if only” coursing through your brain pan.

So what do you do, oh dreamer of dreams? You create.

Bukowski says it better than I, but the truth is: if you are a creator, a writer, a painter, a photographer – then you do the thing you say you are. You wake from your poppy laced reverie and you pick up your own stick, be it pen or stylus or brush, and you fight back.

You see my dears, the world, and my address book are full of middle-aged paunchy stressed out types who used to be where you are. Unless you commit fully to your craft and create no matter the circumstances, they are your future. Trust me. I’ve been an intermittent dreamer now since I was sixteen. Three and a half decades later, occasionally I still create. I encourage you to do better. Pick a poppy. Pick two whilst you’re traipsing carefree. But then, crush it up and make something from the brilliant petals.

Find Bukowski’s poem. Tack it up on your wall. Then live it.


Associate Editor