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Amber O’Neil: Blowing My Hero

Amber O’Neil: Blowing My Hero

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This book carried some baggage with it, the kind John Martin often supplied when individuals or small press publishers produced publications with Bukowski’s work, even with explicit Bukowski’s permission.

Amber O’Neil,a pseudonym for the real writer, had a somewhat short, sexually charged relationship with Bukowski between 1976-1977. She admits to being a Bukowski groupie of sorts, and the title alone bears that out. The book is her story to tell, along with a post she made on the Bukowski Forum on March 18, 2007.

This version from 1995, with a selection of Bukowski’s letters in the appendix, is a very scarce book to find. Martin originally praised the book, but then ordered the author to cease selling any more copies with the Bukowski letters. According to her, she complied. A separate book was subsequently published without the letters.

Again, this is one of the copies that contain the letters. Although this book is hand-numbered #119/500, the numbering does not reflect that this was actually the 119th book sold.

This copy is in Near Fine with bumps to the top and bottom of the spine, and a light crease to the upper-right corner. The pages of the book are on heavy stock and it is perfect bound.

Below is the post referenced above by “Amber” on the Bukowski Forum:

“…many, many years after my correspondence and blip in Mr. Bukowski's life, I was home with two more babies, a husband who worked nights, and decided to write about what was an unexpected experience for a California transplant from Flint, Michigan. Not having a computer or even a typewriter, I sat on the floor at night and hand wrote this small memoir. I then took it to the Berkeley Public Library and used their typewriter to type it up. Around the same time, I called a rare book dealer in Marin County who used to date my girlfriend, when we were very young. I wanted his suggestions on what I should do with the letters from Mr. B. As a thank you for his time, I sent him a formal thank you and also a copy of my manuscript. His response was great! He said, "I couldn't put it down! I loved it! I'll call you the literary genius of American hairdressers! Publish it, publish it, publish it!

I was so excited. My husband had an old computer, installed a desktop software and struggled to finally come up with a master copy in book form. You're right....I took it down to Kinko's and asked them to make 500 copies.

They called me part way through the job and said they had run out of the grayish lavendar card stock. I said, "well, just choose some other cardstock and finish the job." So there are actually two colors in print.

This whole project was started before Mr. B's death. I sent a copy of the typed manuscript to him, through John Martin. I got a letter from John saying that Bukowski liked it very much, hoped my children and I were doing o.k., and they included a whole box of books for me.

However, after his death, when I sent a copy of the actual Kinko'ed book to John Martin, he wrote saying that under no circumstances was I to publish anymore of these because of the letters from Bukowski in the appendix; that these were the intellectual property of Bukowski's estate. And, he also requested to buy 6 copies of it himself!

After that, I was really afraid of this whole world of copyrights, etc.

The remaining copies are in boxes at my home. Every once in awhile I give one to a pal or colleague who expresses an interest. I only numbered a certain number at the beginning, as the book dealer in Marin said I should number them. But, I truthfully lost track and lost interest as I was busy with my family.

So, there you have it! It was just a fun thing for me to do, and it helped me emotionally as I didn't understand why Bukowski was so harsh in Women. My character was Tanya, not Claire. In any case, he was very kind and gentle to me that weekend. I think he could see that I was in over my head.”

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