Monthly Archives: August 2009

Freedom to come

‘When did things first go awry? When did the mist descend and freedom slip between my fingers? Was it when you turned up, when I started talking to you? Was it you, did you replace my freedom, are you my freedom to come? If not, what freedom is this that’s always on the other side? I dreamed of a dying life or living death, like a healthy open wound. The freedom of a desert or of an abyss, the source and death of all echoes, that’s how I imagined it. Or as an endless sea that gives birth to and drowns all life.’

A ‘biographical’ note by William Burroughs

I have no past life at all being a notorious plant or ‘intrusion’ if you prefer the archaeological word for an ‘intruded’ artefact. I walk in passport was allegedly born St. Louis, Missouri, more or less haute bourgeois circumstances – that is he could have got in the St. Louis Country Club because at that time nobody had anything special against him but times changed and lots of people had lots of things against him and he got his name in the papers and there were rumours of uh legal trouble. Remember? I prefer not to. Harvard 1936 AB. Nobody ever saw him there but he had the papers on them. Functioned once as an exterminator in Chicago and learned some basic principles of ‘force majeure’. He achieved a state of inorganic matter in Tanger with chemical assistants. Resuscitated by dubious arts he travelled extensively in all directions open to him.

In any case he wrote a book and that finished him. They killed the author many times in different agents concentrated on the road I pass, achieving thereby greyhounds, menstrual cramps and advanced yoga to a distance of two feet legitimate terrain… And never the hope of ground that is yours

william seward burroughs

The terrible truth

‘Don’t tell me. Isn’t it obvious I don’t want to hear it? Just let me get a little close to it, you know it better than I. I know it too, just don’t let me get too close or far, I couldn’t bear it.’

Point of no return

There’s no going back, I tell X, I can’t return. What was the title of that play, You Can Never Go Home? There’s No Going Back? I can’t even remember the time before I started talking to you, I say. I’ve stumbled well past the point of no return, that much is clear. That is unless I create a point of return, and then create something behind that to which I can return. But a return to what you’ve created is hardly a return, I say.

Language opens like the day itself

 Zoon logon echon: for the Greeks, it is the ability to talk discursively, to speak, that marks out the human being as the human being. But for the human being, language is not a tool but a condition: one speaks not with a language but from it. We inhabit language — or rather language inhabits us. Language is not a tool that would offer itself to be used, but a field that opens through us and opens the world to us, determining what it is possible for us to say and not to say. But it is, for this reason, never the “object” of our awareness. It dissimulates itself, except at those moments when the capacity to express oneself comes to crisis. Language opens like the day itself, granting a world to the human being — but furled in this opening and opening with it is the dim awareness that something has come between the human being and the rest of nature.

Lars Iyer

Being alone in a room

Being alone in a room with only thoughts and memories is not lifelessly abstract. It is the experience of millions of people. To label it solipsistic or elitist, as many people have, is narrow-minded in the extreme. To write from the perspective of ‘outside’, which many much-touted writers still do (Pat Barker, Irving Welsh et al.), is far more abstract and non-empathetic. Even if these claim to be the voice of the lost, silenced or the underclass, their conservative attitude to language annexes the ground where these voices might speak. Their sympathy is the cruelty of the sentimental that Wilde spoke of. They silence everybody in their powerful cries from the trenches of literary tradition.

Stephen Mitchelmore

Ignorance

When did I first discover I was stupid? I ask X. You tell me, I say, you should know, you helped me. You led me into the discovery of my stupidity, didn’t you? The great discovery! That I know nothing, and that you are my ignorance.