- Birthday, Books, Fiction, Quotes, Reading, Writing

“The word is now a virus.”

Happy birthday, William S. Burroughs! Here are some quotes from this writer’s provocative writing:

“Open your mind and let the pictures out.”

 

“When you stop growing you start dying.”

Junky

 

“There is nothing one fears more or is more ashamed of than not being oneself. Yet few people realize even an approximation of their true potential. Most people must live with varying degrees of the shame and fear of not being fully in control of themselves.”

“”Most people don’t notice what’s going on around them. That’s my principal message to writers: for God’s sake, keep your eyes open.”

With William Burroughs: A Report from the Bunker

“America is not so much a nightmare as a non-dream. The American non-dream is precisely a move to wipe the dream out of existence. The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set up by the non-dreamers.”

“Most people don’t notice what’s going on around them. That’s my principal message to writers: for God’s sake, keep your eyes open.”

Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader

 

 

“My characters are quite as real to me as so-called real people; which is one reason why I’m not subject to what is known as loneliness. I have plenty of company.”

The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs

 

“A chaotic situation is always deliberately produced. Ask yourself who or what sort of creature could benefit from such a situation.”

 

“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.”

The Western Lands

 

“A chaotic situation is always deliberately produced. Ask yourself who or what sort of creature could benefit from such a situation.”

The Place of Dead Roads

 

“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful—be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.”

 

“What a horrible loutish planet this is. The dominant species consists of sadistic morons, faces bearing the hideous lineaments of spiritual famine swollen with stupid hate. Hopeless rubbish.”

My Education: A Book of Dreams

 

“We intend to destroy all dogmatic verbal systems.”

The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs

 

“I have never known a writer who was not at one time an avid reader. I believe it was T.S. Eliot who said that if a writer has a pretentious literary style, it is generally because he has not read enough books. Some knowledge of what has been done in writing is, I think, essential.”

The Adding Machine: Selected Essays

 

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About John Madera

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.
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