Bukowski made us realize one thing: The world isn’t a nice or planned place. Living like everyone else, thinking like everybody else doesn’t change what the world is or offers. Once you’ve got that figured out, being like other people, or acting like other people seems kind of silly (it did to Bukowski, anyway). People gravitated to Bukowski the way they gravitate to all artists. Their originality takes guts. It’s like a championship boxing match. We love the thrill, but we ain’t getting in that ring and taking the punches. That’s what life is—if you want to be like Bukowski. Either step into the ring or accept the fact that you’re a bystander.

I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.