Charles Bukowski Wrote on a Mac

And he loved it.

Charles Bukowski and the Computer

Charles Bukowski on the Mac II.
Note the beer, foreground.

On Christmas Day, 1990, Charles Bukowski received a Macintosh IIsi computer and a laser printer from his wife, Linda. The computer utilized the 6.0.7 operating system and was installed with the MacWrite II word processing program. By January 18 of the next year, the computer was up and running and so, after a brief period of fumbling and stumbling, was Bukowski. His output of poems doubled in 1991. In letters he remarked that he had more poems than outlets to send them to. The fact that several books of new poems appeared in the years following Bukowski’s death in 1994 can partially be attributed to this amazing burst of creative energy late in life. The Macintosh IIsi helped to enable this creative explosion.

Flying in the face of the adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” Bukowski kept an open mind about new technologies. Although he wondered if Dostoevsky would have ever used a computer or if he would lose his soul as a writer, Bukowski quickly realized the substantial benefits of the Macintosh and wondered how he ever wrote without one, considering the typewriter archaic. In correspondence, Bukowski championed his computer to friends, stating that they would never regret getting one for themselves. Linda signed Bukowski up for a computer class, and he went willingly, demonstrating his eagerness to master the new technology. A short time later, Bukowski characteristically claimed that he had a secret, foolproof system for dealing with his computer’s many shutdowns and malfunctions, much like he had a system at the racetrack.

Hunter S. Thompson on Halloween

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Amazing writing (voice, pace, narrative) as usual from the dear departed Gonzo.

There’s a lot more than the excerpt below from the early 2000s over at ESPN, where HST had a columnist gig for a while:

Getting weird for Devil’s Day
By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

Hot damn, it is Halloween again, and I am ready to get weird in public. Nevermind anthrax for today. The Yankees won, but so what? That’s what I said to that fruitbag who claimed to be Sean Penn when he called earlier. “Screw you,” I said. He was drunk, so I knew right away that it wasn’t Sean Penn. “Get out of my face!” I screamed at him. “You are the same squalid freak who called here a few days ago and said he was Muhammad Ali. What’s wrong with you?”

“I need advice,” said the voice. “Should I jump into the Honolulu Marathon this year? I desperately need a Personal Challenge to conquer. My blood is filling up with some kind of poison.”

“Nonsense,” I said. “You are just another jackass looking for attention. I’ll give your lame ass a beating if I ever catch you sneaking around My house, you sleazy little Freak!”

I didn’t care who he was, by then. He was just another geek in a Halloween parade, to my way of thinking. And for all I knew he was dangerous — maybe some kind of murderous off-duty cop with two guns and a bottle of whiskey in his pocket. I wanted no part of him, especially not on a day like Halloween.

But why not humor him? I thought. Nobody needs this kind of Foul Ball drunk coming into his yard at night. So I lowered my voice and gave him a break. “OK,” I said. “I will help you, just don’t come anywhere near me.”

“I am Sean Penn,” the voice said calmly. “Should I or should I not enter the Honolulu Marathon in December? That’s all I need to know.”

“Yes,” I said. “You should definitely enter it. I will go with you, if necessary. But don’t call them today. Do it tomorrow, not today. Nobody will believe a thing you say on a horrible day like Halloween. … And don’t use the damn telephone anymore! They’ll hunt you down and dice you up like a squid — just go to bed and stay out of sight until noon. That is when the bogeyman sleeps, and so do I. So get out of my face and never call me again!” Then I howled in a low animal voice and hung up the phone.

“These freaks should all be put to sleep,” I said to Anita. “Let’s go out on the town and get weird.”

If you liked this excerpt, get a visual and quote snapshot of HST at The Selvedge Yard. Leaving you with this koan from the master:

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

– Hunter S. Thompson

Mark Twain’s autobiography

“ ‘From the first, second, third and fourth editions all sound and sane expressions of opinion must be left out,’ Twain instructed them in 1906. ‘There may be a market for that kind of wares a century from now. There is no hurry. Wait and see.’

“Twain’s decree will be put to the test when the University of California Press publishes the first of three volumes of the 500,000-word Autobiography of Mark Twain in November. Twain dictated most of it to a stenographer in the four years before his death at 74 on April 21, 1910. He argued that speaking his recollections and opinions, rather than writing them down, allowed him to adopt a more natural, colloquial and frank tone, and Twain scholars who have seen the manuscript agree.”
Larry Rohter reporting on Mark Twain’s Unexpurgated Autobiography (coming this November)

H/T John Lilly