7 AUGUST 1997
William S. Burroughs
1914 - 1997

Nothing is true.
Everything is permitted
Hassan I Sabbah

From "Literary Outlaw, The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs," by Ted Morgan, (New York) Avon Books, 1988..

"I am not a recording instrument ... I do not presume to impose "story," "plot," "continuity" ... Insofar as I succeed in direct recording of certain areas of psychic process I may have limited function ... I am not an entertainer." (p. 350)

Kerouac's theme in "On the Road" was how to assert possession of a birthright not through ownership but through mobility. (p. 288)

By 1955 Burroughs began to see that Tangier could serve as a model for the setting of his novel, which he called "Interzone." Tangier was as much an imaginative construct as a geographical location, a metaphor for limbo, for a dead-end place, a place where everyone could act out his most extreme fantasies. On one level, Tangier was a reconstruction of the world in a small place. He would attempt a novel-length work, even though he knew it would be unpublishable. He would write it in the style of his most outrageous routines, such as the talking asshole. He wasn't sure what he was writing about, but he began to see that it had to do with larval forms, transitions, emergent telepathic faculties, attempts to control and stifle new forms. He knew that the routine was his special form -- it was unpredictable, with the author always trying to outdo himself, to go a little further, to commit some excess, since he was trying to hold the attention of a particular person. Before the book was written, he already had a title, courtesy of Jack Kerouac: Naked Lunch. (p. 253)

The book began to take shape. When Paul Bowles visited his room in the Muniria, the floor was covered with hundreds of yellow foolscap pages. Many of them had been stepped on; you could see sole and heel marks on them. They were covered with rat droppings and bits of cheese sandwiches. Obviously Burroughs ate at the same table where he typed. "What is all this?" asked Bowles, who, being meticulously neat, was put off by clutter. "That's what I'm working on," Burroughs replied. "Do you make copies before you throw it on the floor?" "Nope." "Then how are you going to read it?" "Oh, I figure it'll be legible." It was unbelievable, Paul thought. He spent half his time making those things, carefully, and the other half ruining them. Burroughs, however, although admittedly untidy, swept his room out daily and did not habitually leave papers on the floor. (p. 261-2)

From Salon Magazine

by Gary Kamiya

"Burroughs brought the Big Cold into our literature. He pushed literature way out, past all the stop signs, into a wasteland where the faces screamed like Francis Bacon portraits and the pain wasn't literary."

A William S. Burroughs Primer from bigtable.com.