“So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them.
— Sylvia Plath
I have this marvellous little book. It's an anthology of Charles Bukowski's writing, but it's not chronological. It's his work, ordered according to the time of his life he was writing about. Poems, short stories, ramblings. Everything.
It ends with Bluebird. It's one of his most famous poems. And it articulates his lifelong struggle. He put on a tough front, old Charles. He was rough, raw, honest. Crude. Crass. But underneath it all, tender. Gentle. And so heartfelt.
I like to think that everybody is born with a bluebird (a kind soul, a loving heart, a softness, an innocence, beauty) inside of them. It may be idealistic of me. But I think people who have had tough lives - whether due to inner or outer turmoil - cultivate a hard shell that hides the delicacy within. It's self-preservation. And it's natural, in this cut-throat world of ours, where vulnerability is considered a weakness and loving leaves us naked to hurt.
I make it my mission to soften people. To tap, tap, tap, away, gently, patiently, until a smile or a kind word emerges from a callused facade. It's selfish, I suppose, because it's for my own satisfaction, to restore my faith in humanity, one person at a time. But I like to think that it is good for them, too, in a way.