@Lenciel

People Empty Out

Bukowski

1969年,出版商John Martin给了Charles Bukowski一个月薪100刀的offer(当时的100刀大概是现在的500刀左右吧): 只要他愿意从他当时上班的邮局辞职成为一名全职的作家。时年49岁的Bukowski接受了这份offer,并在1971年出版了他的首部小说《Post Office》。小说由Martin的Black Sparrow出版社出版,名字算是用来表示跟自己过去的邮局里的职业生涯一刀两断。

15年之后,Bukowski在给Martin的信里面表达了他离开邮局的全职工作之后的体验:

(Source: Reach for the Sun Vol. 3; Image: Charles Bukowski, via.)

Hello John:

Thanks for the good letter. I don't think it hurts, sometimes, to remember where you came from. You know the places where I came from. Even the people who try to write about that or make films about it, they don't get it right. They call it "9 to 5." It's never 9 to 5, there's no free lunch break at those places, in fact, at many of them in order to keep your job you don't take lunch. Then there's OVERTIME and the books never seem to get the overtime right and if you complain about that, there's another sucker to take your place.

You know my old saying, "Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors."

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don't want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.

As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can't believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?

Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: "Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don't you realize that?"

They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn't want to enter their minds.

Now in industry, there are vast layoffs (steel mills dead, technical changes in other factors of the work place). They are layed off by the hundreds of thousands and their faces are stunned:

"I put in 35 years..."

"It ain't right..."

"I don't know what to do..."

They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn't they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good. Why not get there first before they put me there? Why wait?

I just wrote in disgust against it all, it was a relief to get the shit out of my system. And now that I'm here, a so-called professional writer, after giving the first 50 years away, I've found out that there are other disgusts beyond the system.

I remember once, working as a packer in this lighting fixture company, one of the packers suddenly said: "I'll never be free!"

One of the bosses was walking by (his name was Morrie) and he let out this delicious cackle of a laugh, enjoying the fact that this fellow was trapped for life.

So, the luck I finally had in getting out of those places, no matter how long it took, has given me a kind of joy, the jolly joy of the miracle. I now write from an old mind and an old body, long beyond the time when most men would ever think of continuing such a thing, but since I started so late I owe it to myself to continue, and when the words begin to falter and I must be helped up stairways and I can no longer tell a bluebird from a paperclip, I still feel that something in me is going to remember (no matter how far I'm gone) how I've come through the murder and the mess and the moil, to at least a generous way to die.

To not to have entirely wasted one's life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.

yr boy,

Hank

马尔克斯的孤独与爱

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度过了忙乱的一周,又回到了广汉。吃完饭洗个澡,继续在书房干活,外面的天不知不觉就黯淡下来。偶像派走过来说,《舌尖上的中国》第二季开播了,快来看吧。

但我总觉得有什么没有做,合上电脑之前,突然想起来,对,是马尔克斯没了。早上听到这个消息的时候,我好像想着要说点儿什么来着的。

我最喜欢的作家是马尔克斯,但我一般不会推荐别人去读他的小说。有人问我谁的小说比较好看时,我一般都推荐村上春树。

在我看来,什么是好的小说呢?像《白鹿原》、《平凡的世界》那些当然是非常好的小说,但这些小说你读起来更多是在领略,而不是在参与。换句话说,那些是适合十几岁的时候看的东西。

而活到一定年纪,你就会发现,人生就像在爬山,因为路太窄,加上不是在上坡,就是在下坡,很难在你想策马奔腾的时候就能找到一块平坦的地方,让你潇洒一番:大多数时候你不过是孤孤单单地走在爬山的路上而已。

问我的人大都和我差不多年纪,在城市里面生活,我想他们的体会应该和我类似。而在我眼中,村上春树把城市生活里的孤独感捕捉并表达到了无论是什么背景的读者都会有所共鸣的地步,所以我推荐他的小说。

但村上的小说,虽然我非常喜欢,为什么只能排在马尔克斯后面呢?大概和他有些刻板的写作生活有关,村上的作品会让你感觉到从孤独到弃绝的意味。换句话说,你经常能被他营造的孤独感吞没,他却没有告诉你应该怎么办:他自己呢,倒是知道避开作家圈子,知道去听歌跑步健身,知道在鸡蛋和高墙之间如何选择。

而马尔克斯则大不相同。在很多时候,他被书商打上了孤独者的标签贩卖(在我们这个年代,孤独者的孤独也成了时髦,真是让孤独者无处可逃啊)。他下面这段话,也随着《百年孤独》在国内广为传颂:

过去都是假的,回忆是一条没有归途的路,以往的一切春天都无法复原,即使最狂乱且坚韧的爱情,归根结底也不过是一种瞬息即逝的现实,唯有孤独永恒。

但看过《百年孤独》的人都知道,那其实是个非常热闹的故事。换句话说,虽然是写出了前面这段带着些孤独宿命论的话,马尔克斯并不是仅仅靠营造孤独感来引起你共鸣:他在劝你好好去爱。

孤独的确是人的宿命:我们每个人都是这世界上一个偶然的存在,生命如此漫长又短暂,我们一直在得到和失去,汲取和忘却,不要说别人,我们自己也不一定来得及了解自己。

很多人以为对抗孤独,需要绝对的爱,比如男女之间那种想要燃尽各自的肉体和精神的完全排他性的爱,或者父母孩子之间那种完全忘我不计付出的爱。

但无论村上还是马尔克斯讲诉的故事,都告诉你即便是这些绝对的爱,也难以与岁月相抗衡。人们对此心知肚明,可是往往还是憧憬着绝对的爱,对自己所拥有的“有瑕疵的爱”感到不满足。

于是马尔克斯更进一步,他告诉你那份孤独恰恰是爱的最意味深长的赠品。你接受了这份赠品,就能学会理解别的孤独的灵魂和深藏于它们之中的深邃的爱。读懂他你会明白,是否一起生活一起死去并不重要,能够在他/她到来的时候好好去爱,其充实感是任何体验都无法比拟的。从某种意义上说,那么强烈的感情正是人的一生中最美好的东西。

所以,并没有像电池一样的东西在持续供给着让你对抗孤独。那些某个瞬间点燃的火花,就足够照亮我们漫长的日常生活。