My three favorite writers are P.G. Wodehouse, David Foster Wallace, and William Burroughs. All of them have had a big influence on my writing. My goal to write a post modern novel. I have been working on this novel since 2004.
When I get an idea for it, I sometimes put my stories online. I like the freedom granted by the post modern style. Instead of writing a story with a beginning, middle and an end, I like to write anything that occurs to me. I could write part of the story from the view point of a character or from a narrator. The timeline can move from beginning to end, but I could also think of ideas that occur in the middle of the story and fit them in. There are no rules.
Right now, my story has no beginning. The first thing I wrote in the story was based on a dream, and I later felt that this dream was not the correct beginning. Some of the passages are based on Dreams or Real life or Ideas. I felt constrained trying to write parts that would some how tie all of the pieces together and end the novel, so I decided to continue the novel and rewrite the novel. Maybe someday I will pull the whole story together, but maybe not.
David Foster Wallace writes parts and never ends any of his stories, but they are so compelling that we are all moved by his stories. P.G. Wodehouse has a biting sense of humor which bring into my stories. Much of my story is supposed to be amusing. The self centered characters created by Wodehouse create a mood of black humor. If we do not laugh at the pain of life, we would cry.
Burroughs has inspired me more with his life then his writing. I felt Junkie and Queer were his best novels. The first time I read Naked Lunch I did not like it, but as I moved more into Burroughs and learned about his life, from reading the large biography Call Me Burroughs: A Life I could see what he was getting at. I also enjoyed reading Burroughs’s letters which are mostly addressed to Allen Ginsberg. Allen Ginsberg was a very interesting man, as well. I liked the way Ginsberg and Burroughs faced struggles in their lives with their boyfriends and with writing, habits and working. All of the Beats before the Hippies got in touch with their real selves. I am not a fan of most of the Burroughs routines or with the cuts ups. I don’t feel that placing words at random will result in one’s best writing. I don’t believe in passing any judgement on art, however. The artist/writer simply writes about what they are feeling. As long as the art is based on feelings, it can not be judged. We all live in a world of limited time, so if we don’t like some writers we don’t read them. The creative process can involve taking from the world of writers then selecting a few of them, the creating one’s own stories. Of course, we also try to be original, and I am sure that my stories are original. Good writing is based on the real life experiences of the writer. When my friend Tony described his paintings as being foggy near sighted reflections on what ones sees in a near sited look, those words stuck with me. I have a drawing of Tony’s created for my story of Woodleaf.
It was very moving to me the first time I found I could like something of Burroughs. I felt as if I had made a break through into real art and culture. I listened to the audio of the unedited text of Naked Lunch and it moved by it. In the past, I had only read an old paper back of an edited version of Naked Lunch which I got from the library as a child in the 70s and I found it make no sense and be a terrible unreadable book. It turns out everything had been edited out of the book. I went to a book club meeting for Naked Lunch and most of the people found they did not like the book due to the violence and the child pornography. I find I don’t like to read those passages, but there are a few passages that are enjoyable. Lee’s run in with two policemen who are villains arresting him for doing heroin, stands out as the best part of Naked Lunch. Much of Burroughs material is very off putting, but I found that if one sticks with Burroughs and looks to his earlier material, he is a brilliant, genius, writer. Critics who claimed he never worked are wrong. He did work from time to time. He was trying to make money in different ways. He bought a farm in Texas. He worked as an exterminator, as in the movie Naked Lunch. His parents gave him small sums of money, but not enough to live well. In the Burroughs letters he was constantly worried about money. He wanted his son to come live with him and to be a good father. But his son never forgave him for shooting his mother, Joan. Joan was addicted to speed and it may have effect Burroughs son in the womb. She was falling apart due to drugs and had breakdowns in which she heard voices, and had delusions. Burroughs had a number of boyfriends. I have posted about some of them. Burroughs will never appeal to main stream audiences the way Stephen King does, but for the select few, Burroughs is the most important writer of the mid 20th century.