William S. Burroughs, fully William Seward Burroughs II

William S.
Burroughs, fully William Seward Burroughs II
1914
1997

American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist, Painter and Spoken Word Performer

Author Quotes

I do spend a great deal of time alone. I'm not very gregarious. I don't like parties and miscellaneous gatherings with no particular purpose. I think parties are largely a mistake. The bigger they are the more mistaken they are.

I started to write in about 1950; I was thirty-five at the time; there didn't seem to be any strong motivation. I simply was endeavoring to put down in a more or less straightforward journalistic style something about my experiences with addiction and addicts.

If the mortality rate seems high we must realize that Nature is a ruthless teacher. There are no second chances in Mother Nature's Survival Course.

In homosexual sex you know exactly what the other person is feeling, so you are identifying with the other person completely. In heterosexual sex you have no idea what the other person is feeling.

Junk is the ideal product... the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy.

Like many people who have nothing to do, he was very resentful of any claims on his time.

Most of the trouble in the world has been caused by folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has. Now your virus is an obligate cellular parasite and my contention is that evil is quite literally a virus parasite occupying a certain brain area which we may term the RIGHT center. The mark of a basic shit is that he has to be right. And right here we must make a distinction between the hard-core virus-occupied shit and a plain, ordinary, mean no-good son of a bitch. Some of these sons of bitches don't cause any trouble at all, just want to be left alone and are only dangerous when molested, like the Brown Recluse.

No body of knowledge needs an organizational policy. Organizational policy can only impede the advancement of knowledge. There is a basic incompatibility between any organization and freedom of thought.

Paranoia is just having the right information.

Some people like neat suburbs. I always am attracted to the rundown and the old and the offbeat.

The American uppermiddle-class citizen is a composite of negatives. He is largely delineated by what he is not.

The face of evil is always the face of total need. A dope fiend is a man in total need of dope. Beyond a certain frequency need knows absolutely no limit or control. In the words of total need: Wouldn't you? Yes you would. You would lie, cheat, inform on your friends, steal, do anything to satisfy total need. Because you would be in a state of total sickness, total possession, and not in a position to act in any other way. Dope fiends are sick people who cannot act other than they do. A rabid dog cannot choose but bite.

The question is frequently asked: Why does a man become a drug addict? The answer is that he usually does not intend to become an addict. You don?t wake up one morning and decide to be a drug addict. It takes at least three months? shooting twice a day to get any habit at all. And you don?t really know what junk sickness is until you have had several habits. It took me almost six months to get my first habit, and then the withdrawal symptoms were mild. I think it no exaggeration to say it takes about a year and several hundred injections to make an addict. The questions, of course, could be asked: Why did you ever try narcotics? Why did you continue using it long enough to become an addict? You become a narcotics addict because you do not have strong motivations in the other direction. Junk wins by default. I tried it as a matter of curiosity. I drifted along taking shots when I could score. I ended up hooked. Most addicts I have talked to report a similar experience. They did not start using drugs for any reason they can remember. They just drifted along until they got hooked. If you have never been addicted, you can have no clear idea what it means to need junk with the addict?s special need. You don?t decide to be an addict. One morning you wake up sick and you?re an addict.

There is no final enough of wisdom, experience - any fucking thing. No Holy Grail, No Final Satori, no solution. Just conflict. Only thing that can resolve conflict is love, like I felt for Fletch and Ruski, Spooner, and Calico. Pure love. What I feel for my cats past and present.

Thou shalt not be such a shit, you don't know you are one.

We intend to destroy all dogmatic verbal systems.

When one stops growing starts to die.

Writers, like elephants, have long, vicious memories. There are things I wish I could forget.

I don?t care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it.

I think anybody incapable of changing his mind is crazy.

If the soft machine works, don't fix it. If it works, don't fix it.

In Mexico your wishes have a dream power. When you want to see someone, he turns up.

Junk is the ultimate merchandise. The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to the product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise, he degrades and simplifies the client.

Like most qualities, cuteness is delineated by what it isn't. Most people aren't cute at all, or if so they quickly outgrow their cuteness ... Elegance, grace, delicacy, beauty, and a lack of self-consciousness: a creature who knows he is cute soon isn't.

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.

Author Picture
First Name
William S.
Last Name
Burroughs, fully William Seward Burroughs II
Birth Date
1914
Death Date
1997
Bio

American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist, Painter and Spoken Word Performer