"There is only one thing a writer can write about: what is in front of his senses at the moment of writing. . . . I am a recording instrument. . . . I do not presume to impose 'story' or 'plot' 'continuity.'"--William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch (New York: Grove, 1959): 221What you sense at the moment of writing (drawing, painting, dancing, jamming, etc.) is not the conventional self, as if self could be easily packaged as some kind of "categorically impaired" thing. According to Burroughs:
Whatever you may be, you are not the verbal labels in your passport any more than you are the word "self." So you must be prepared to prove at all times that you are what you are not. Much of the force of the reactive mind also depends on the falsification inherent in the categorical definitive article THE. THE now, THE past, THE time, THE space, THE energy, THE matter, THE universe. Definitive article THE contains the implication of no other. THE universe locks you in THE, and denies the possibility of any other. [...] The whole reactive mind can be in fact reduced to three little words -- to be "THE." That is to be what you are not, verbal formulations.How does writing facilitate (trigger) the dissemination of unconscious projections without becoming verbal formulations that are merely reactionary or trapped in the logosphere of false consciousness?
The preliminary condition of any work of literature is that the person who is writing has to invent that first character, who is the author of the work. That a person puts his whole self into the work he is writing is something we often hear said, but it is never true. It is always only a projection of himself that an author calls into play while he is writing; it may be a projection of a real part of himself or the projection of a fictitious "I"--a mask, in short. Writing always presupposes the selection of a psychological attitude, a rapport with the world, a tone of voice, a homogeneous set of linguistic tools, the data of experience and the phantoms of the imagination--in a word, a style. The author is an author insofar as he enters into a role the way an actor does and identifies himself with that projection of himself at the moment of writing.How does a contemporary writer, using all of the intermedia forms available to them in digital culture, become a creative apparatus that intuitively senses the poetic measure of their next live performance?
Proving at all times that you are what you are not requires an acute sensitivity to ones inner choreography: a choragraphy that feels w-r-i-t-e.
Metadata: writing, Burroughs, Calvino, acting