December 11, 2008

when there's trouble I dont like running


Darren Hostetter, Detail 1 of Forest, 2008

* From a 1974 interview of William Burroughs. excerpt:

PM: Have you been influenced by Celine?

WB: Yes, very much so.

PM: Did you ever meet him?

WB: Yes, I did. Allen and I went out to meet him in Meudon shortly before his death. Well, it was not shortly before, but two or three years before.

PM: Would you agree to say that he was one of the very rare French novelists who wrote in association blocks?

WB: Only in part. I think that he is in a very old tradition, and I myself am in a very old tradition, namely, that of the picaresque novel. People complain that my novels have no plot. Well, a picaresque novel has no plot. It is simply a series of incidents. And that tradition dates back to the Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter, and to one of the very early novels, The Unfortunate Traveler by Thomas Nashe. And I think Celine belongs to this same tradition. But remember that what we call the "novel" is a highly artificial form, which came in the nineteenth century. It's quite as arbitrary as the sonnet. And that form had a beginning, a middle, and an end; it has a plot, and it has this chapter structure where you have one chapter, and then you try to leave the person in a state of suspense, and on to the next chapter, and people are wondering what happened to this person, and so forth. That nineteenth-century construction has become stylized as the novel, and anyone who writes anything different from that is accused of being unintelligible. That form has imposed itself to the present time.
...
PM: What films have you liked recently?

WB: I like them when I go, when I see them, but it's rather hard to get myself out to see a film. I haven't seen many films lately. I saw A Clockwork Orange; I thought it was competent and fun, well done, though I don't think I could bear to see it again.

PM: Do you write every day?

WB: I used to. I haven't been doing anything lately because I gave a course in New York, and that took up all my time; then I was moving into a new flat there, so that during the last five months, I haven't really been doing much writing.

PM: When you write, how long is it each day?

WB: Well, I used to write... it depends ... up to three, four hours, sometimes more, depending on how it's going.

PM: What is the proportion of cut-up in your recent books, The Wild Boys and Exterminator!?

WB: Small. Small. Not more than five percent, if that.
...
PM: You hate politicians, right?

WB: No, I don't hate politicians at all, I'm not interested in politicians. I find the type of mind, the completely extraverted, image-oriented, power-oriented thinking of the politicians dull. In other words, I'm bored by politicians; I don't hate them. It's just not a type of person that interests me.

PM: What are your methods of writing at present?

WB: Methods? I don't know. I just sit down and write! I write in short sections; in other words, I write a section, maybe of narrative, and then I reach into that, but if it doesn't continue, I'll write something else, and then try to piece them together. The Wild Boys was written over a period of time; some of it was written in Marrakech, some of it was written in Tangiers, and a good deal was written in London. I always write on the typewriter, never in longhand.

* The Bat and The Bird has The Stairs' The Unnatural Bridge available for download.

* Reminder, tonight in DC: The Cut Ups and The Caribbean perform at Crooked Beat Records (18th Street, Adams-Morgan). FREE 7:15pm

* "In my music, I'm trying to play the truth of what I am. The reason it's difficult is because I'm changing all the time." -- Charles Mingus

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