Last week I received an email from a young lady living in Europe. She asked if I was a writer. For some reason, I said, “No, I’m more of a reader.” She asked if I “Liked Bukowski.” I said, “Sure.” Then she said I, “Must have good taste then.” She asked if she could send me some of her writing so that I could give my opinion since I liked Bukowski.
I really didn’t want to. If I say I like it, I might be stuck in this circle of correspondence forever. If I don’t like it, I’m the asshole who ruined her career.
Years ago, actually only three, I did a chapbook with David Gurz, called Under A Broken Street Lamp. It was fun. Nothing groundbreaking. We won an award or two. Then I had a bunch of “edgy” authors sending me stories that they were sure I’d love and would compel me to stop everything and do a chapbook with them. One particular author was very cool. We corresponded for a month or two. Finally, I relented and said, “Send me a story.” The story was decent. He wrote well. Then I hit the middle of his story and he segued into this whole other sub-story about being sexually attracted to his mom, and you know what? Not my cup of tea. For me, mom was a mom, not somebody I was cruising. So, I said the story wasn’t right for what I was working on.
The young lady from Europe sent me a poem. I anticipated a story, but she sent a poem. It was a page of nothing but clichés. “The days of our lives are like grains of sand.” “The days fly away like leaves from an old tree.”
I read the page and muttered, “Fuck.” I am yet to respond. I don’t like being needlessly mean to people, but this was a bit much. I have no idea why she asked me about Bukowski. Her poem was more like a Hallmark card than it was Bukowski.
I need to hire someone to answer this stuff for me. Something like:
“Mr. Essington is busy searching Los Angeles for the ultimate plate of Nachos. He will be unable to answer your email for a minimum of eighteen months.
Thank you for emailing.