If you’ve read the back cover description of A Confession, you’ve probably noticed there’s a comparison there between my writing and Bukowski. Now, I know a few Bukowski fans, and before I raise their ire, I want to clarify something: I’ve never read Bukowski.
So, you might already dismiss me as some sort of hack or fake (hack because how could you not read Bukowski??? … fake because how can you claim to write like him????). I don’t particularly care in either case – but I do want to explain a bit. That part on the back cover? That’s from my publisher – and from feedback from some readers. Supposedly ‘A Confession’ reminds them of his writing – and one of the easiest ways to describe someone’s writing, especially in a book that’s not quite like most popular fiction, is to compare it to contemporaries.
And there it is. I’ve never read Bukowski – and honestly I don’t really plan on it. Maybe it’s because my ex-wife was a huge Bukowski fan. Maybe it’s because he’s become almost a kind of religion for some people that I’ve decided that his work is probably pretentious and hipster cool. Kind of why after I read The Bell Jar, I made a mental note that one should never get romantically involved with a woman who’s favorite author is Sylvia Plath.
Maybe someday I’ll read his writing. Maybe not. In the meantime I’ll take it as a compliment that my writing is similar in ways to an author that so many people have obviously felt a connection with. I won’t deny that I’ve been influenced by him – as I’m sure a lot of my own influences have been. Maybe I’m a second-generation kind of Bukowski-ish writer, influenced by people who’ve been influenced. We all are influenced by pretty much everything else that influences someone who we loved anyway – just like I’m sure I’ve been influenced by Chuck Palahniak … even though I quit reading him when he stopped being interesting and switched to mostly just being gross for shock value.
Now that snarky comparison where someone said I’m Camus meets Jackie Collins … well, I’ve never read Jackie Collins, but I’d gladly accept her paychecks.