OK, um, I finished Naked Lunch. I think. It's hard to tell, really. I mean, it's not as if there's a plot, or story. That would apparently be too traditional. And my man Burroughs was clearly about breaking with the traditional.
Furthermore, the edition I have, the so-called "restored text," has seen fit to include NINETY pages of "original additions and introductions by the author" and "Burroughs texts annexed by the editors." None of which, I might add, I feel particularly compelled to read. But the book itself (as it were) is only two hundred pages. I don't think the additions and such should be half again as many pages as the book. That's just asking too much of my poor, graphic-images-addled brain. And p.s. it's kind of like when someone buys Cliffs Notes for, like, The Catcher in the Rye. The notes are longer than the book. What's the point?
Anyhoo, I could rant about Cliffs Notes, or I could rant about Burroughs. Or maybe I'll rant about nothing and just go enjoy my snow day.
I did read one of the "original introductions and additions by the author," before I read the book. I read "Letter From a Master Addict to Dangerous Drugs" which is dated 1956, before the publication of the book. I decided to save the other "original introductions and additions by the author," which were apparently written in the 1960s, after the book, for after I read the book, see? But now, I'm like, um, OK, do I really care? Yeah, not so much.
PERHAPS I will idly read some of them only while I am on the train on my way to the bookstore to purchase In Cold Blood. That's right, the man Truman Capote is my choice for 'C.'
And yes, I am ashamed to admit I haven't read Capote yet. But I am suddenly far less ashamed that I hadn't previously read Burroughs. I'd still hang out with him, I'm pretty sure. But now I picture it'd be like, me and Allen (Ginsberg, you plebes) in one corner of the bar totally getting all passionate and arguing about something, much to the eye-rolling "There they go again" dismay of our gathered friends, and maybe Neal(Cassady of course) would hang at our table, too, but he'd kind of be bouncing around talking to everybody, while then Jack(Kerouac. tell me you knew that one) and William S himself would disappear for hours at a time into the darkened back rooms and crevices of our world to indulge in other things, and I'd be all, "Where'd they go?" all the time and roll my eyes right back.
That's what I'm doing, I guess, to Naked Lunch, to appropriate a concept (and half a quote) from Pretty Woman. William Burroughs is disgusted with the world? Indeed. Me too. But I roll my eyes right back.