my lawrence priority visiting william burroughs
nathan knew where he lived, so on the way to the flamingo we stopped by a red frame house on a street like cohen
leaves in front over hang foreboding entrance
our view, at least, in light of shotgun ward off visitor stories and at least assistants answering the door
nondescript screen door with cat sticker and security
jessa was afraid to go but if we met william burroughs she'd feel bad
so I prepared a personal card with my number in town and desire to speak about the holy ghost and copyrights
nathan and jessa stood back
I took a breath and rang the doorbell
some moments comtemplating the etched glass and old screen the door caved open by a bent figure
burroughs himself answered the door, stood and did not open the screen
I opened it myself
he does sound like spare ass annie
hi I was in town and I wanted to speak to you about the internet some, if you havetime
at the same time I'm to be expressing my cojant desires, I'm floored to have just shaken the hand of a man who shot his wife shot much heroin written naked lunch
whatever he looks me over with watery blue eyes and drawn features
okay, well why don't you come in
I gesture to mi compadres and into a modest abode crowded with expressionistic paintings and old furniture and multiple plush fat cats
wide cushy chairs, but his, by the desk a wheelchair like apparatus sort of - thin metal lashed together with wheels on each leg and an old blue towel over it
scuff marks on the wall behind him
he seats, rocking rolling twitching
I think the internet is alright
his aqualine features
at times he looked like an old british writer
times he seemed like our grandfather
in an army coat, drawn thin
coffeetable at my feet has combat guns magazine
and two pamphlets - ethnobotany and
the superconscious mind or something like that
what do you do on the internet?
I publish this and that, I started in 1994. I notice he's looking out the window
1996 writing everyday
nothing really exciting comes out of my mouth
I have a tough time with that question
I should have left it to faith
are you a student
jessa - are you a student?
no I'm thirty, I'm done with schooling
nathan are you a student
well I'm going to cooking school.
you're in cooking school
this town doesn't have any cooks.
23rd street all up and down there's all these restaurants and there's nothing to eat.
jh -there's lots of breweries
I don't drink beer
you have a class on vegetables, is that how they do it?
no, nathan reports, they have like units on entrees, and soups, and appetizers,
jh - is there a steak emphasis cuz it's kansas?
no it's buffalo and wheat
n's kidding now it all tastes like blotter paper.
you can't eat a fresh steak. it's not aged anymore. it needs to be aged two weeks to four months at 34 degrees
he looks straight at me impress with the accuracy of his degree measurement.
he twiched always, had a pen in his hands pulled out from his olive army style jacket pocket and tapped against his leg clicked the nubbin out and in
when questions got difficult or uncanny he would restraighten three books on the table next to him, in a t pattern
bang bang bang
jh - someone trying to get in?
(nathan and jessa later confess thinking someone was tied up
no that's sue's fixing a hole in the roof over the porch
was it from the storm?
it's been leaking for quite a while now, that storm brought it to a head
local weather talk 16 inches of water in his basement recent flooding
he leans toward jessa,
you have any flooding at your place?
no basement, but my front lawn was practically flooded
there was a river on my front lawn
jh - so is this like global warming or the millenium or something?
these storms they're called a rainout
it's like a wall of water
you can't even see to the end of your car
it's very dangerous
jh - was there thunder and lightening along with it?
jt - there was a tornado warning,
in my neighbor's basement, we came up on the porch
constant lighting continuous multiple levels of light
have you seen twister? I just saw twister and that's a great film
jh - I've heard the plot of that movie was like blotter paper
I didn't see it for the plot.
j - most movies don't have plots
plots don't exist in movies today
jh - have you seen pulp fiction?
jh - it's by quentin tarintino
brief synopsis. nonlinear beginning at end, end at the beginning. nonlinearity watered down for hollywood.
where was it at?
john travola biggest since dancing in polysester
do you go to see a lot of movies?
how to remember the exact flow of converse without recordation but it was like this so far much time of day passing not political or pitched talk but just mostly kansasians and fans queriying an old kansas man
jh - what should I see while I'm in lawrence? there's a good museum at the university
don't recommend the zoo, doesn't like them really
I don't have any drafting ability
I can't paint a chair
but that's not what painting's about
it's not important
not since the invention of the photograph
mentions some art exhibit typifying this split
what's interesting are digital images
jh - like twister
have you ever seen one?
one time at the university of kansas
during the tornado of 8?
looked outside, saw the tornado sky
have you ever seen el greco's painting a view of toledo?
that's what it looks like.
looks like what I call a tornado sky.
and then the tornado alarm went off, five minutes late.
what do you read, subscribe to?
gun magazines, the fortean times
I was in boulder at the nropa institute
staying with my friend was a guru
what do you think of that word?
whip out the wichita paper called me a computer guru
what type of guru?
a computer guru, and I feel like the maharishi or something
laughs a little
tim leary didn't like the word guru
I knew him.
a brief affectionate remembrance
you could plug into his internet site to see his drug intake
bong hits, leary biscuits and cocaine
all of my friends who were drug addicts were junkies
they never liked cocaine
I just don't understand crack
so why kansas?
trees, birds, water
I almost moved to boulder, but it's too much of a boom town.
I had some friends at the university invited me down here
you should go out shooting sometime shooting is fun even if someone's
folklore that you shoot visitors
no I wouldn't've done that - I'm a pretty good shot
the only time to use a gun is if you break in my home and intend me harm
but not to defend property
there's no excuse for deadly force
do you live alone?
what do you do with your days?
(mumble). I paint.
do you read all day?
do you still write?
yes. my most recent book is ghost of a chance
do you keep a journal
I don't. I used to.
do you get a lot of visitors?
and then I found myself asking a weird sort of question like do you mind that we're here mostly useless pursuit
no answer really -
speaking of visitors, you ever heard of terrance mckenna
he's like to mushrooms what timothy leary is to acid
he talks about mushrooms and alien visitors
how are aliens and mushrooms related?
came in on a comet from outer space
he recieves delivery of an old book the something mind
by grey walter
must be from a fan, he sez
from a fan or a friend
a friend a very old friend I haven't seen in some years
two tips for writers from sinclair lewis
one was learn to type
second one when you write something you think is excellent and you can't wait to give it to someone to read, and send it off to be published, tear it up, cuz it's awful. I've written stuff that I thought was great, I wake up the next and I realize it's trash so I rip it up into tiny pieces and throw it in the neighbor's garbage
jessa should read dianna barnes, one great woman writer
jane bold, carson mccullough
writers are horrible judges of their own work
jt - did you know your most popular books when you wrote them? jt - I mean did you know they were great
I don't recall that he did.
I took some specific notes but he was watching me too closely each time I pict up the pen
what do you listen to?
rock back in his chair,
I'm not a conissour of popular music
I listen to morrocan music, indian music
difference between carnatic south indian lyrical and north indian music? no, I'm not that familiar
you write on a typewriter?
you ever try a comptuer?
no, I never
slender fingers, missing pinkie knuckle
it used to be I had nothing more than I could fit in a suitcase
now I have
jessa leans in
how does it feel to be so famous?
does he really think he's a normal guy, is he really that great? cuz if she was william burroughs, she'd be torn between, I'm just normal, and bow down and kiss my burroughs feet!
the beat era was about expanding consciousness
was you lucky to be in the right place in the right time?
jh - any hidden passions? like you wish you could have been a singer or something?
didn't sing, but during the war I was almost was in the CIA
right, the oss, I heard about that. someone was telling me that you were part of the cia conspiracy to infiltrate the counterculture.
who told you that?
a conspiracy theorist.
about performance, he's done around 300 readings
each well rehersed, read from written, can't freestyle
I'm not a performer.
to jessa, what do you like to read?
jessa mentions anne dillard author, he's never heard of
her voice thoreauian, she won a pulitzer
never heard of as byatt, possession
jessa's favourite madeline l'engle
never heard of her
modern writers, he likes greene, beckett, genet
he met genet at the riots - chicago at the '68 democratic convention
fierce intellect. a most intelligent man
I am a poor linguist, I lived in paris for a number of years and never learned to speak the language
but I had some broken french, and he some broken english, so we were able to communicate that way.
henry miller, he met him just once he said
burroughs I could never understnad your work
jh - did you take that as a compliment?
what do you think of sci fi?
didn't like philip k dick
don't like vonnegut - he's too whimsical
don't like whimsey. I don't like talking animals - talking crabs
jessa likes talking animals, but not vonnegut's
he recommends the fury, he can't remember who by - oh yeas, henry cuttner
what about nike commercials?
yeas, they had my face, but no name
jt - everyone knows who you are
jh wonders if bob dole does
they would never read my books
clinton quoted me once in a speech
jh - how'd that work?
I read in the paper, something on perspective, william burroughs
come outside and look at the fish while I feed them
and he doesn't like zoos
I was tempted to take pictures of the house as he climbed away
but that's rude.
on the fridge is a mini magnet book cover of junkie
little japanese style pond with several golden orange slender swimmers
old wood and old stone, green,
he didn't mind if I took a picture of him feeding the fish
monet story I recall he had so many grandkids to hold the paintings around the garden at different light times call them over for quick work
so howard didn't breed enough
did you breed?
did you breed?
yes, a son. he died.
something about livers and five years
other house side fish pond
near an old cat ruski gravemarker
recent storm, he thinks he lost two fishes
shows us an uprooted tree over a side shed
a chair inside a chest high shack - an accumulation box, from wilhelm reich
behind this immediate garden extends more property
vegetables are grown there, though not by him
inside again, he's got to attend to some business, pick up a lukemiatic cat from the veternarian
thank him for his time, out on the porch, can we take a group photo
I can take the picture and put it on my computer
there's no film in there
and you're going to plug it into that thing?
my partner has one of those
jh - what kind of partner?
an agent, schedules stuff
so you're travelling, do you leave tomorrow?
no, I've got another two nights in lawrence
well, have a good trip.
so I forgot to ask opinion of copyright and for a signature and set my camera on the highest resolution for the first picture and I didn't take more than two and I didn't ask him if he still does drugs and what he thinks of pot andfeeling unresolved
the next day with stef I took him two wheatfeilds' loaves of bread
knock on the door
I'm busy right now
I know, I just stopped by to bring you some bread
choose from rosemary or olive bread
rosemary, what's that?
pungeant italian spice, grows in a dry climate
sticks his nose in each bag chooses the rosemary
I'll take this one.
so you're leaving tomorrow?
yes, by greyhound to columbia.
have a good trip.