The Moaning of Life

The Moaning of Life

By Karl Pilkington

Karl Pilkington is a simple guy with some interesting thoughts and quotes. Whether you are watching him being berated by Ricky Gervais or reading one of his 6 books, you will be struck by his complex straightforwardness. I find him fascinating while his intelligence, stupidity and insightfulness flummoxes me. The main reason is because he is a successful writer and producer. Not that I want to be mean, on the contrary, but after watching and reading Karl’s thoughts I wonder how he ended up where he is now.

He’s not interested in travel and likes to live modestly, so why has he travelled around the globe and put himself in the arena for potential fame and ridicule? Was it the force known as Ricky who shoved Karl on a plane and gave him terrible tasks to do just to be annoying or did Karl deep down want to see some of the world.   Maybe Karl just though it would be a good little earner? Whatever it was he’s grabbed this bull by the horns and continued travelling and writing books including The Moaning of Life.

Written plainly with a northern twang The Moaning of Life is set out into sections with a witty introduction clearly stating his lack of interest in fuss and surprises and allowing us a little insight into his confusions at traditions like marriage and having children. Simply named the headings are: Marriage, Kids, Vocation and Money, Happiness and Death. We follow Karl as he travels the world partaking in these everyday occurrences in life.

Marriage sees Karl exploring the concepts of matchmaking and marriage. He works as a wedding planner for an Indian family and observes a couple who marry in Vegas in a laundrette. They exchange dirty clothes and wash them, therefore beginning the marriage on a clean slate while accepting that there may be less pleasant times or habits which one has to accept. During his involvement in wedding ceremonies and meeting the people involved Karl offers his point of view.

I find it odd that we’ve named it the ‘ring finger’. It just goes to show that we have too many fingers. I reckon we’d get by okay if we had lobster hands.’ P12

A typical Karl comment.

Kids begins with an excellent explanation as to why he doesn’t want offspring – it’s actually quite sweet really. Karl is in a hotel and there is a knock at the door, he’s nervous about letting the person in as he is hiding something in his room. He answers the door and he’s relieved it’s just the director and not the hotel staff. Karl says he’s knackered as he hasn’t slept then he shows the director the problem: a turtle in the bath.

Karl has rescued a turtle from a street market in Tokyo. Unfortunately, in a Karl-like manner, he hasn’t thought it through. He has decided to keep it in the bath, but was so concerned the turtle would strangle itself with the plug chain Karl stayed awake to make sure it was safe. He sees this as proof that he shouldn’t have children. He thinks if he’s worrying about a turtle that much then what would he be like with a child? He’s got a point. Like he says:

‘Having kids is the biggest decision you have to make in life, cos once you’ve had one, you can’t send it back.’ P86

Karl opens the Vocation and Money section by saying:

‘I left school with no qualifications worth speaking of, and the only work experience I’d had was playing a shepherd in the Christmas nativity play,’ p147

I find this inspiring. I bet he’d never think he’s an inspirational guy, but I like that he is who he is; he hasn’t come from a position of privilege yet he has a successful career. From a shepherd to producer and writer. I wonder if he sees it that way?

Happiness is a strange (or should I say stranger) section. Karl meets people who hang themselves, by their skin, from hooks; people who get happy by exercising and others seeking happiness though dancing. Now, here is one activity Karl always seems to enjoy. For someone who doesn’t like a fuss made of them because it’s embarrassing he clearly has music in his veins because if there’s an opportunity to dance he doesn’t need asking twice and without a moan he’s up and moving. During this chapter Karl even gets into the swing of cosmetic surgery.

The book ends (obviously and aptly) with Death where Karl experiences funerals, mourning and the dead. On such a dark subject Karl manages to lighten the mood. On moving a body he says:

‘It’s hard to describe the chaos, but just imagine the Chuckle Brothers trying to shift a mattress.’ P312

His description provides us with an all too clear image. He isn’t disrespectful, even though it may sound like it. He admits he has limited emotions and through the book you do get a detached sense of Karl amongst the world. This is probably why his insights and comments can be taken without too much upset because he always seems a little removed to mean any harm plus his honest thoughts and simplicity of style allows him to slide under the radar of reprimands because telling him off would be like scolding a Labrador.

This brief look into the book and unusual mind of Karl Pilkington will hopefully make you want to read some of his writing. It’s an entertaining, funny, light read and for those who have never heard of him you will be shaking your head as you delve into the Pilkington mind. Perfect for this festive period when some escapism is required.

The Last Dance

The Last Dance and Other Stories

By Victoria Hislop

In this collection of evocative short stories Victoria captures the intimate lives of the Greek people.  Through her intricate observations of daily life she allows the reader to be drawn into poignant events through memorable characters.

The detailed description is what makes Victoria’s writing come to life.  She doesn’t skip the grime or sadness – in fact she embraces it and uses it to evoke the atmosphere of a place and the heart of a person.

“It was the silent hour.  The wind had dropped, traffic had disappeared, pedestrians had vanished.  It was hard to tell whether the stray, still dogs in the shade were alive or dead.  Flies seemed to be the only living creatures, ceaselessly flitting from one animal to the other.” P69

The Lesson captures the intensity of a bond between two children just beginning their school lives together.  Giannis is constantly berated and humiliated by his overbearing teacher who is annoyed by his disobedience and defiance of her authority.  The children are inseparable and the teacher takes huge offence to their defiance as they continue to remain in each other’s company as long and as frequently as possible.  Once grown a chance encounter brings Giannis and his teacher back together.

One story tells of feuding butchers with grudges from the past while another sees a saddened mother watching her twin sons competing ferociously with each other to the detriment of their relationship.  Another is a wistful love story with a beautiful and intriguing opening:

“In a Melbourne suburb, a young man was unpacking.  He retrieved two small objects from the bottom of his suitcase, removed several layers of tissue and placed them carefully on his desk.  Apart from the key ring of the Parthenon that he had been given by his aunt, they were his sole souvenir from Greece.  The figures, a bear and an eagle, were perfect in every detail and he would treasure them.” p57

All the stories (typical of Victoria’s writing) are thought provoking and enjoyable to read.  The benefit of a short story is it doesn’t take too much time to read.  And because it is like an emotional capsule – capturing a moment – you don’t feel short changed; you feel like you’ve just peeped through a window and witnessed an argument, an intimate kiss or a lonely tearstained face.

Reached

Reached

Reached

By Ally Condie

‘You cannot change your journey if you are unwilling to move at all.’

Reached is the final book in the Matched trilogy which now combines the thoughts of, not only Cassia and Ky, but Xander: Cassia’s Match.   Xander’s voice is a welcome addition; his viewpoint is required in this book when the three rebels and friends are separated and undertake their own personal journeys alongside their intertwined goals and desires.

The Society is falling and the Risings efforts to infiltrate and dominate are looking promising, until unexpected events cause death, fear and distrust. The central characters are separated and their efforts and objectives are in question.  The reader is left wondering not only who Cassia will end up with, but will she end up with anyone at all?

The voices of the three protagonists are more grown up and reflect their struggles.  I find Ky’s voice can sometimes feel like an echo of Cassia.   Xander’s voice is much more individual.  The pace is quicker than Crossed and contains frequent contemplations, mainly from Cassia about the arts and life:

‘And it strikes me that this is how writing anything is, really.  A collaboration between you who give the words and they who take them and find meaning in them, or put music to them, or turn them aside because they were not needed.’ Cassia.

The arts, except for the select 100 chosen by the Society, have not been enjoyed or understood by many.   Cassia comes to realise how much it is needed especially as death all too frequently knocks at their doors:

‘Writing, painting, singing – it cannot stop everything.  Cannot halt death in its tracks.  But perhaps it can make the pause between death’s footsteps sound and look and feel beautiful’ and ‘the journey there between footsteps makes up our lives.’

I’m going to keep this short as I don’t want to give too much away.  I think what sums up this book as well as the trilogy as a whole is a love triangle, a rebellion against a society for freedom of choice and a contemplative discussion on the importance of the arts within a society.  It’s an enjoyable read, better than Crossed but not as good as Matched.  It does what YA dystopian fiction should do: create an emotional response towards the lovers (the reader can choose who she wishes Cassia to be with depending on their own preferences) and make us think and question our society and our place within it.

 

World Book Day with Mr Benn

Quote: “nothing exciting ever happens to me,” Mr Benn.

Mr Benn

With World Book Day Thursday 6th March I thought I’d take on a children’s classic: Mr Benn – Red Knight by David McKee. I acquired a copy from a child I look after and she eyed me with suspicion when I asked to borrow it. I made sure I said ‘borrow’. She said yes but reminded me it was a very special book (as if I didn’t know); I have read it to her loads. But why have I read it to her loads? This tale was first published in 1967 and this girl is 6. So what makes it rise above contemporary stories?

The story goes like this:

Mr Benn, a suited man in a bowler hat, is invited to a fancy dress party. He goes to a fancy dress shop and chooses a red suit of armour to try on. In the changing room there is a second door which leads him into another world. In this world he meets a dragon who used to light the fires for the king but was banished after a matchmaker came to the town. The matchmaker wants to get rich selling his matches so sets a barn on fire and tells everyone it was the dragon. At the same time the king’s horse runs away which makes the king think the dragon has something to do with it (why? I don’t know). The dragon says the horse is living near him but he was too scared to return it to the king.

After telling Mr Benn of his woes he (Mr Benn) rides off on the horse to the castle to explain. The King punishes the matchmaker by imprisoning him in the dungeon and forcing him to make free matches for the people while the dragon returns as the king’s personal firelighter.

Mr Benn has sorted all the problems and returns to the changing room. He decides he’s too tired for the party after all and goes home to dream about all the other adventures he might have.

Mr Benn and the dragon

The idea is genius. It lends itself to vast numbers of adventures for Mr Benn and therefore numerous books and, as we know, television programmes too. The concept of dressing up is a great one for children – they completely understand dressing up and can get to grip with that concept immediately. It crosses the boundary into the wilds of their imagination whilst maintaining a safe familiarity.

An equally important part of this book (and my favourite) is the illustrations. Line drawings, which are akin to doodles, are alternated with bright, child-like, stylised paintings.

Mr Benn line drawing

Back to the text. When reading out loud to a child you’ll notice the difference in sentence length, structure and language. For example, one sentence I always trip over is:

‘The shop bell tinkled and as if by magic there was suddenly a strange little man, with a moustache and an odd hat, standing in front of Mr Benn.’

I think it is because I’m expecting a full stop after ‘tinkled’ and the next sentence to start ‘As if …’ The sentences do feel longer than the current books and the word usage is different too; words like: desolate, barren and triumphal procession are used. Today’s writers for children are told (by publishers and those in the know)to use language children understand and can potentially read without stumbling or wondering what on earth it means. I also feel when Mr Benn meets the dragon and hears of the dragon’s back story it is ‘telling’ rather than showing (which writers always get told off for) and it’s a long and slightly confusing backstory told like a story within a story. I think it would work better if it was told by the dragon and not by the narrator.

Mr Benn and the shops

However, what do I know? The story is popular and has been since 1967. This isn’t the first book from years ago that is still being, not just enjoyed, but loved by children; they don’t seem so confused by the language, they seem to take it in their stride and ask what ‘desolate’ means or understand that no one can possibly know all the words. Children don’t seem to care if they’re being ‘told’ a story either. I think they just want something that taps into their imagination and can take them on a jolly good romp. Hoorah! As Enid Blyton would write.

Line drawing of trees

Enjoy World Book Day! Let me know of your interesting reads.

Noughts and Crosses

Noughts & Crosses
By Malorie Blackman

Noughts and Crosses
Award winning Malorie Blackman writes a Romeo and Juliet tale. Two childhood sweethearts want nothing more than to be together. In a world where colour divides the two young lovers have an obstacle in their way: colour. Callum: a pale nought can never be with the dark skinned Cross, Sephy. Living in a society where colour determines class, intelligence and power Callum and Sephy struggle to overcome such prejudice.

The novel is told from the alternative viewpoints of Callum and Sephy. This, for me, is what kept the pages turning. It was each person’s experience and view of an event/conversation which was interesting. It works perfectly, showing how things can be easily misconstrued and how each misinterpretation affects the characters and in turn, the plot line.

I was surprised how simple the writing and general story was. I felt it never really went anywhere. I wanted more fight against the segregation of the noughts and Crosses. But it was very much about the relationship between Callum and Sephy and when/if they would see each other again and if they loved each other (to which the reader knows the answer) and will they die, separate or end up together? I think either finale would have felt a little disappointing for me as I wanted them (especially Sephy) to wholeheartedly rise up and revolt against her kind and really make a difference. However, it just ends.

Even though I had some mild irritation for some of the simplistic language/style it does raise an excellent awareness about racial issues. By making the couples struggle within their small, inward looking environment we do feel a sense of helplessness for the situation as the couple try to get to grips with how prejudice and oppressive their immediate and wider society is.
Malorie probably writes a more realistic version of what would happen to two lovers who were not allowed to be together because of discrimination. But I wanted to hear that they fought against it and made a difference. She deserves huge praise for bringing these issues into a novel for teens and creating an intense, passionate world.

In conclusion, I enjoyed reading about another pair of star-crossed lovers and found the racial tensions fascinating, but (and I hate to say this) I still felt a little surprised I was reading a novel by an award winning author.

It’s a Book Review. Honestly.

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This is the extent of my reading during the festive period.  So this is my ‘book’ review for the month.  The book, though not technically a book, as it’s a mug, sums up my December: busy writing, busy drinking tea yet not busy reading.  The author of the ‘book’ captures my life pretty well – an excellent observational statement for the modern writer.  I don’t regret my lack of reading because I have actually made the time to write and submit.  Yes submit!  All bow down.  Thank you.

Oh, I forgot; I was busy eating chocolate too.  Do I get a bow for that too?

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Born To Run

Born To Run

‘“If you’re going to try, go all the way,”’ Billy on Charles Bukowski (p145)

Okay, so where do I start?  Actually the real problem is where and when do I stop?  Christopher McDougall, with the assistance of others (whom he thanks on the back pages), has created a tightly written journey of self-discovery whilst unleashing humorous and enthralling observations, theories and scientific research into nutrition, trainers, health and the Mexican Tarahumara; which ultimately all coexist under one ultra-heading – RUNNING.

I ran the 2010 London Marathon out of sheer stubbornness.  I briefly mentioned it to a couple of people close to me that maybe I’ll endeavour to do the marathon – to which they replied, really?  That was my starting gun.  I’ll show them; and I did.  Not being a runner, I set up a training schedule which dragged me though the depths of winter and over the finish line.  Like most will say, the last six miles are HELL!  And it wasn’t the first time I’d thought I’m just not born to run.  But, I finished with a slow jog-like-shuffle and no-one can take that away from me.  Just you try.

I’ve been to Mexico a couple of times and I absolutely love it so when I saw this book was mainly set there I thought it might be worth a read.  Little did I know this was a massive understatement.  This book will now be one of those I can’t stop wanting to shove down other peoples’ throats.  I loved it.

A factual book with an easy flowing, fast-paced narrative follows injury ridden Christopher in his search for Mexico’s Tarahumara Indians who can run for hundreds of miles, without injury or rest.  His search begins with the elusive and mysterious Caballo Blanco – The White Horse.  According to McDougall, Caballo had, ‘come to Mexico years ago and trekked deep into the wild, impenetrable Barrancas del Cobre – The Copper Canyons – to live among the Tarahumara, a near mythical tribe of Stone Age superatheletes.’ (p4).  These superathletes run in a self-fashioned, thin leather sandal and this caught McDougall’s interest.

On this discovery he looks into barefoot running and how the trainer industry seems to be causing injury with all it’s cushioning, rather than preventing it.  Throughout the book we see people who have suffered from running pain and injuries who have specialists telling them running is bad and to invest in better trainers.  However, even with the new trainers the pain didn’t subside.  Ted is one of these stubborn sufferers and being stubborn he decides to walk the Marathon barefoot rather than give up.  He commences his barefoot training slowly and discovers how much better he feels.  Yet, every time he puts the trainers back on he feels the pain again.  Ted wanted answers so he did some research and found an international community of barefoot runners lead by Barefoot Ken Bob.

Barefoot Bob ‘begins: Shoes block pain, not impact!’  Ted realises, ‘When he went barefoot, his form instantly tightened: his back straightened and his legs stayed clearly under his hips.’  “No wonder your feet are so sensitive,” Ted mused.  “They’re self-correcting devices.”’ (p 57)

It’s not just  a self-diagnosed runner who thinks trainers are the devil, ‘Dr Daniel Lieberman, a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University (states): “A lot of foot and knee injuries that are currently plaguing us are actually caused by people running with shoes that actually make our feet weak, cause us to over-pronate, give us knee problems.  Until 1972, when the modern athletic shoe was invented by Nike, people ran in very thin-soled shoes, had strong feet, and had much lower incidence of knee injuries.”’  In 2008 he stated, ‘“If there’s any magic bullet to make human beings healthy, it’s to run.”’ (p168)

Wow!  Really?

There are a number of doctors and scientists who have researched into trainers and barefoot running and, ‘the puzzling conclusion is: the more cushioned the shoe, the less protection it provides.’ (p173).  The research shows that our feet naturally and instinctively look for stability, so when the feet are highly cushioned we plant ourselves down harder in search of it.  It seems our feet are fine, just the way they are.  Dr Hartmann, one of the world’s leading physical therapists says, ‘“Pronation has become a very bad word, but it’s just the natural movement of the foot.  The foot is supposed to pronate.”’ (p175).   He goes on to discuss how support orthotics are weakening the arch, ‘“…the arch, the greatest weight-baring design ever created.  The beauty of the arch is the way it gets stronger under stress”’ (p176)

All is not lost, weak-footed people.   Apparently we can train our feet and they can become stronger again.  And guess what?  The trainer industry now has a whole heap of ‘barefoot’ style running trainers to help us alleviate our pain and the strain from the weight of our wallets.

By now, if you’re still reading, you will see what I meant in the beginning about not being able to stop, and I’ve only touched the surface on that subject.  I will try to be briefer with nutrition.  Let’s say there’ll be less waffle.

A lot of the people believe, and research seems to show, that a wholefood diet is best.  Natural food from plants and not from animals: fruit, vegetables and whole-grains.  This way the body doesn’t ‘carry or process any useless bulk’ and ‘carbohydrates clear the stomach faster than protein’ leaving you feeling lighter, which means it’s easier to run.  ‘Vegetables, grains and legumes all contain the amino acids necessary to build muscle from scratch.’ (p192/3).   Horticulturalist Tony Ramirez discusses phenols: natural plant chemicals, combating disease by boosting your immune system.  Cornell University found corn has the highest number of phenols and is ultra-low in fat.  ‘According to Dr Robert Weinberg, a professor of cancer research at MIT and discoverer of the first tumor-suppressor gene, one in every seven cancer deaths is caused by excess body fat.’  He says, ‘“Change your lifestyle, and you can reduce your risk of cancer by sixty to seventy percent.” Colon, prostate and breast cancer were almost unknown in Japan, he points out, until the Japanese began eating like Americans; within a few decades, their mortality rate from those three diseases skyrocketed.’ (p 208/9).

Weinberg believes the way to be cancer-free like the Tarahumara is to eat less, eat better and exercise more; building our diets around fruit and veg and not meat and processed carbs.  A report in 2007 by The Journal of the American Medical Association states why, ‘Because stray cells left behind after surgery seem to be stimulated by animal proteins.  Remove those foods from your diet, and those tumors may never appear in the first place.’ (p209)

So, if you want to eat like the Tarahumara, Ramirez says, ‘“It’s mostly pinto beans, squash, chili peppers, wild greens, pinhole and lots of chia.”’ (p209).  According to Ramirez you can find pinhole at Nativseeds.org.

We’re wearing the wrong footwear and eating the wrong things, but running itself is pretty straightforward right?  Wrong?  I thought we just ran how we ran, but it looks like that’s another thing we’re doing incorrectly.  Apparently we start off well; as children we just run, but as we get older we get more self-conscious and we concentrate on how fast we can be.  On Pages 110/111 Caballo takes McDougall on a run and offers some advice:

Lesson 1: Don’t fight the trail.  Caballo runs with small steps taking whatever comes his way: working with the terrain rather than against it.

Lesson 2: Think easy, smooth, light and fast.  Think easy because if it’s easy it’s not so bad.  Once you’ve practiced that you move onto light which means you can tackle what comes your way from hill to long distance.  Then comes smooth and once you’ve got that you won’t need to worry about ‘fast’ as it will come naturally.

Easy!  I think.

The Last Runaway

By
Tracy Chevalier

Cover pic the last runaway

There are two things I do with a Tracy Chevalier book: firstly I buy it, I don’t wait for a library copy or download it, I actually pay for it; then, when I’ve skipped easily through the simple yet scintillating prose, I hand it on to my mum and nan. Three generations reading a book – well done, Tracy.

Chevalier’s topics are political and social. They sit specifically within her chosen period. However, away from the bonnets and wagons these are issues which resonate with us; issues we are still experiencing in society in a direct and intensely personal way or generally, surreptitiously influencing our lives.

The Last Runaway follows an introvert, yet adventurous, Quaker girl. Honor Bright accompanies her sister to America. Leaving 1850’s Dorset and her close knit community for a forward thinking, transient and comparatively newly-born towns Orberlain and Faithwell. An arduous sea journey means Honor will never return, therefore forcing her to make America home.

Her struggles with personal tragedy and living in a different culture are underlying during her dealings with slavery. Quakers, according to Chevalier, were “Instrumental to the growth of both abolitionism and the Underground Railroad” and “opposed slavery in principle” (P384). However, as Honor finds, living her daily life with these principles amongst slave hunters and laws penalising those who help slaves, it is not so easy. The Quakers, seemingly united, all have varying opinions and many follow the law and leave their principles to one side when it comes to slavery. It is this tucking away of principles that Honor struggles to cope with.

The book is an easy flowing read with a fast pace and simple prose. Chevalier covers a distressing topic with her typically extensive historical research and offers it to us through a young, innocent girl’s eyes. The book is about struggle, both personally and on a wider scale, yet it retains lightness. As usual, when you finish a Chevalier novel you feel as if you’ve glided through it and yet have learnt something new. I think she’s sneakily trying to educate us.

One of the main things I like about her books is they have a creative feel. One is about painting, another tapestry and this one, quilting. Whatever the underlying thread she weaves it beautifully through the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It hasn’t surpassed The Lady and the Unicorn or The Girl With the Pearl Earring, but for me it’s on a par with Remarkable Creatures: fascinating and enjoyable. I’m waiting in anticipation to see what captivates her imagination next.

full cover the last runaway

Sex, Drugs and Banality.

Tales of Ordinary Madness

By Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski.  Oh Bukowski, why do I love you so?  You’re crude, you continually use the ‘c’ word and throughout your whole book there is a severe lack of capital letters.  Your genius lies in your fascination with the darker side of society.  You books are simple yet complex.  You captivate me.

Bukowski mixes low and high culture in all his books. Grotty sex, alcohol and writing are intermingled with the lives of ordinary people.  For example, he takes one alcoholic, middle-aged, unkempt man who walks around bare- footed in his own living room treading on broken glass from smashed beer bottles and uncompromisingly delves into his mind.  His personality, how he thinks, how he relates to society and how he is expected to behave in ‘civilised society’ is exposed.  It makes us uncomfortable, fascinated and empathetic, but you also find yourself nodding in semi-agreement with this beer-swilling layabout.

His rants and raves have a fundamental truth; we can understand his comments on society, on politics, on work, on life and the banality of the 9-5.  He holds a mirror up to us on everyday comments, ‘“a good day’s work for a good day’s pay.”’ P189, and ‘”we are not informed as to what is going on, we don’t have the real answers.  we must trust our leaders.”’ P188.  In each of his tales, in each of his men and occasionally women, we are offered more “madness”.

Writing is an important component in Bukowski’s tales.  A lot of the focus is on himself, his writing and his poetry readings whilst commenting on other writers too; the “high culture” of his work contrasts with the “low culture” of his everyday life.   Henri Chinaski is a recurring character in his books and it has been said that Bukowski and Chinaski are one and the same, ‘I began, “My name’s Chinaski.  First poem is called…” After 3 or 4 poems I began to hit the thermos.  People were laughing.  I didn’t care at what.  I hit the thermos some more, began to relax.’ P40.  Similarities have been made between the lives of these two men.

I love Bukowski. I love his passion and his uncompromising voice.  But I have only skimmed the surface of his work here and only given a brief outline to allow you go off and explore the dark and realistic world of Charles Bukowski for yourself.  Be warned, it’s not for children and it’s not a comfortable read, but it is worthwhile and strangely captivating.  Even if you don’t like the content, as a writer (if you are one) the style will give you something to get your teeth into.  A writer who can’t write?  Some may question.

A little extra:

The Laughing Heart

Your life is your life

Don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.

Be on the watch.

There are ways out.

There is a light somewhere.

It may not be much light but

It beats the darkness.

Be on the watch.

The gods will offer you chances.

Know them.

Take them.

You can’t beat death but

You can beat death in life, sometimes.

And the more often you learn to do it,

The more light there will be.

Your life is your life.

Know it while you have it.

You are marvellous

The gods wait to delight

In you.

— By Charles Bukowski

If you want it hear it being read (I recommend you do) then listen to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txe6NDt7DHU