And here’s the other thing about Rollins. Not only is a literature buff, he walks the walk; in the 80s he established his own publishing company, 2.13.61, named after his birthdate. He did it in order to publish his own books, but at first they also published original and licensed titles by others, including Hubert Selby, Jr., Michael Gira, Nick Cave, and – you guessed it – Henry Miller.
But man, he really is a literature buff. Check out this great interview published in BookSlut.
Among other things, he talks about how certain books no longer have a hold on you once you reach a certain age. One example is Charles Bukowski.
It’s a rite of passage for every 17-year old dude to curl up with a Bukowski novel for a weekend (I used to call them “Bukowski Weekends,” as in, “Hey man, thanks for the invite, but I’m gonna pass on the party at Nicole Scaglione’s place. I’m having a ‘Bukowski Weekend.”)
Here’s what Henry has to say about it:
I left Bukowski behind and would see people my age or older [reading him], and think, “Like, really?” You’ve got to get better stuff. It’s good for a while. It’s like sniffing glue to get high: it’s cool when you’re thirteen but then you should get on to better stuff, otherwise you’re going to stagnate.
(Reading Bukowski is) fine when you’re twenty-something. I’m just saying that at least for me, there are times in life when some books are relevant for some reason. Some authors I can go back and read, like I have [Henry Miller's] Black Spring in my bedroom. I will open it up now and then and just hang out with Black Spring for twenty minutes. Any chunk will do. It still works.
Rollins has a point, but, of course it’s always nice – it’s mandatory, in fact – to read an old classic every 10 years or so. Look at things through a older, more world-weary eyes. Even if it means those classics from your youth – “On the Road,” “Huck Finn,” and yes, even Charles Bukowski, right?
I hereby challenge Rollins to a fight!*
* jk y’all