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Charles Bukowski was an alcoholic womanizer, a chronic gambler allowed a cheapskate, a deadbeat and on his worst days, a poet. He's probably the last person on earth you would ever look to for life advice or expect to see in any sort of self help book, which is why he's the perfect place to start. Bukowski wanted to be a writer, but for decades his work was rejected by almost every magazine, newspaper, journal agent and publisher. He submitted to. His work was horrible, they said. Crude, disgusting, depraved. And as the stacks of rejection slips piled up, the weight of his failures pushed him deep into an alcohol fueled depression that would follow him. For most of his life, Bukowski had a day job as a letter filer to post office. He got paid **** money and spent most of it on booze. He gambled away the rest at the race track. That night, he would drink alone and sometimes hammer out poetry on his beat up old typewriter. Often you'd wake up on the floor, having passed out the night before. 30 years went by like this, most of it a meaningless blur of alcohol, drugs, gambling and prostitutes. Then, when Bukowski was 50 after a lifetime of failure in South loading, an editor at a small independent publishing house took a strange interest in him. The editor couldn't offer Bukowski much money or much promise of sales, but he had a weird affection for the drunk loser, so he decided to take a chance on him. It was the first real shot Bukowski had ever gotten, and he realized probably the only one he would ever get because he wrote back to the editor. I have one of two choices. Stay in the post office and go crazy or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve. Upon signing the contract, Bukowski wrote his first novel in three weeks. It was called simply, Post office. In the dedication he wrote, Dedicated to nobody, Bukowski would make it as a novelist and poet. He would go on and published six novels and hundreds of poems, selling over two million copies of his books. His popularity defied everyone's expectations, particularly his own stories like Bukowski's Air, the bread and Butter of our cultural narrative, because his life embodies the American dream, a man fights for what he wants, never gives up and eventually achieves his wildest dreams. It's practically a movie waiting to happen. We all look a stories like Bukowski's and say, See, he never gave up. He never stopped trying. He always believed in himself. He persisted against all the odds and made something of himself. It is then strange that I'm Bukowski's tombstone. The epitaph reads. Don't try, See. Despite the book sales and the fame, Bukowski was a loser. He knew it, and his success stem not from some determination to be a winner, but from the fact that he knew he was a loser, accepted it and then row honestly about it. You never tried to be anything other than what he Waas. The genius in Bukowski's work was not in overcoming unbelievable odds are developing himself into a shining literary light. It was the opposite. It was a simple ability to be completely unflinchingly honest with himself, especially the worst parts of himself, and to share his feelings without hesitation or doubt. This is the real story of Bukowski. Success is comfort with himself as a failure. Bukowski didn't give a **** about success even after his fame. He still showed up to poetry readings, hammered and verbally abused people in his audience. He still exposed himself in public and tried to sleep with every woman he could find. Fame and success didn't make him a better person, nor was it by becoming a better person that he became famous and successful.