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Wešre thinkers. Just get a few drinks in us and wešll prove it to you!
Alan Gibson chases 'life' with a capital L

Read some Charles Bukowski stories recently. I felt somewhat obligated, since he’d written here in Vancouver for a time, and some friends of mine work in a bar named after him.

That’s the word necessary to describe Bukowski’s booze-streaked lens on the world. But bleak in a good way.
Bleak in the sense that "Resevoir Dogs" was considered bleak.
Bleak in that ultra-cool, "none of this matters a shit, I can cope with whatever the f… life throws at me and still crack a good one-liner" kind of bleak.
In other words, I liked it.

It’s the ideal, you might say, that I, and many of my compatriots of a certain age and literary bent, kind of aspired to. Not that most of us would admit to aspiring to anything.
That would be far too un-bleak.

I’m forty three now. And still wondering what’s happened to my capital L Life? You know, the one where some rich socialite widow decides that I’m just a misunderstood artist and takes me in, wines, dines, and screws the daylights out of me; then leaves me in her million dollar mansion while she jets off to Ibiza so that I can "nurture my creative genius."

Or the one where I move to the slums of Mexico City and write the next great Booker Prize winning novel, and am feted through the capitals of South America while Tango dancers teach me previously unimaginable erotic positions.
What happened to that Life?
The upside of the downside of bleak?
The one where, having read "Grapes of Wrath" I might just as well have lived it, and therefor have paid my dues, and deserve the commensurate rewards?

It seems to me that this is a particularly white, male, middle class affliction, this expectation that life is one day going to show us to be the Stienbecks or Hemingways or Bukowskis of our generation.
Except we don’t write much. Television and video games and bars and sex and sports and summer have all got in the way of actually writing. But we have the thoughts! Oh yes. We’re thinkers. Just get a few drinks in us and we’ll prove it to you! Got any coke?

Maybe I’m being a bit too hard on myself, and my friends, and my socio-economic demographic. But what the hell, I’ve been reading Bukowski. You understand.
I’m feeling bleak.
In a good way.

© Allen R. Gibson
Aspiring writer and actor.

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