“The Less I needed, the better I felt.”

Charles Bukowski

Whenever I get lost in my writing or the practice of writing, I have a couple of touchstones that I go back to. One of them is Love Is A Dog From Hell – the first book of Bukowski’s poetry that I read. So it seems only appropriate that Hank would find his way into my thoughts via quote while I’m feeling overwhelmed and ready to pack it in shortly before 7 am on a Monday morning.

It seems to me this morning that a lot of our human struggle comes down to wants and needs. How many “needs” are actually strong wants? Or attempts to fill some sort of void in our life with something that we hope will dampen the echoes of our souls? Or a handy distraction to keep us from sitting down to stare our own set of failings and strengths in the eye in order to decide what’s going to happen next?

Maybe this is all a bunch of philosophical bullshit – after all, I’m only one cup of coffee into this day – but it kinda rings true for me at the moment, so I’m gonna roll with it. Because part of the overwhelm I’m dealing with at the moment has to do with all the things I should be doing or should have done or should have a handle on.

In other words, I’m shoulding all over myself.

I’m pretty sure Hank was talking about material things in that quote, or at least nodding in their direction for the purposes of making a point. The man famously lived a ragged life for a good many years in order to have time for his writing. Of course, he also lived it up to an appropriate degree once success came his way. However, I’m thinking more along the lines of things that can’t be measured in dollars and cents today. How many of these “needs” of mine are just me trying to impress others… or worse, impress myself?