The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD: “What mood makes you write?” Or “I hope you’re very unhappy, Mr Chinaski”

QOTD: “What mood makes you write?” Or “I hope you’re very unhappy, Mr Chinaski”

As the spirit wanes, the form appears
-Charles Bukowski

For many years, I wanted to get a tattoo of this poem. It made perfect sense to me, and as a twenty year old I really thought I could relate to Bukowski, man. (If there was an eye roll emoticon I’d use it here.)

I still have no tattoos, so obviously I never followed through. But I still love the poem. I’m not sure anyone can really be sure what Bukowski meant by anything, but the way I’ve always read it is that as you feel worse, your art gets better. It sure seems like something he would say, hurried as he was to destroy himself. And for a long time I agreed.
Even now, I’m not sure he isn’t a little bit right. For example, I feel great right now. The sun is shining and good tunes on the stereo and a drink in my hand. Things could not improve much, and I’m finding it really hard to focus on writing. Yet, when I’m feeling my worst I’ve often turned to writing to pull myself out of the hole I’m in.

I guess my question is, when do you write? What moods bring out your creativity most? Or are you one of those bastards who can write anytime, no matter what?

Beyond your writing schedule, what makes you sit down and put word to page?

— Doran

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

3 comments on “QOTD: “What mood makes you write?” Or “I hope you’re very unhappy, Mr Chinaski”

  1. J. Gabriel Allan
    May 4, 2013

    What mood makes me write? All of them.
    What mood makes me take to the keys, or out pen to paper? I wish I knew.

    I have been narrating my life inside my head since about age 15. I imagined myself a modern Holden Caufield, I really did.

    As for getting the words out of my head and into existence, I imagine my brain like a balloon that pops when too full. That may explain the word-vomit nature of many freewrites of mine.

    However, I will say I prefer to write when feeling an extreme emotion, regardless of the emotion. Very angry, very depressed, very optimistic, very pretentious… Though I feel I work best when very inspired.

  2. T.a. Allan
    May 5, 2013

    for me it’s often being drunk, but not yet disorderly. (proofing and editing required in the morning.)

  3. Pingback: Mood Swings | Hopes and Dreams: My Writing and My Sons

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2013 by in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

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