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Charles Bukowski

Father's day, 2000

A lot of people wonder what "Don't Try" means on Bukowski's grave marker. The answer can be found in an interview with Linda Bukowski in the May-August 2005 issue of the San Pedro zine The Rise and the Fall of the Harbor Area.

The interview was conducted by Pedro local, Mike Watt, bass player for the Minutemen, fIREHOSE, and various other groups (he recently toured Europe playing bass for the original Stooges). The following is an excerpt from that interview.

Watt: What's the story: "Don't Try"? Is it from that piece he wrote?

Linda: See those big volumes of books? [Points to bookshelf] They're called Who's Who In America. It's everybody, artists, scientists, whatever. So he was in there and they asked him to do a little thing about the books he's written and duh, duh, duh, duh, duh. At the very end they say, is there anything you wanna say, you know, what is your philosophy of life, and some people would write a huge long thing. A dissertation, and some people would just go on and on. And Hank just put, "Don't Try." Now, for you, what do you think that means?

Watt: Well for me it always meant like be natural.

Linda: Yeah, yeah.

Watt: Not like...being lazy!

Linda: Yeah, I get so many different ideas from people that don't understand what that means. Well, "Don't Try? Just be a slacker? lay back?" And I'm no! Don't try, do. Because if you're spending your time trying something, you're not doing it..."DON'T TRY."