Naked Lunch and the Addiction of Writing

Yesterday I obsessively watched David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch and found the film not to be about the bookas much as entirely about Burroughs and all of his writing–it seems as if scenes were taken from every short story and novel–Naked Lunch and Queer.

I was particularly interested in the scenes witht he writing machines as bugs or focuses of addiction. I was amazed at how the dirctor–and of course Burroughs–sees language or writing as a disease or addiction. The conflict came from the lack of typing machine or loathing of particular bug-like typing machine. Now that I think of it there were kinds of writing or word machines inthe film–British and American. At one point Bill Lee trades in his gun at a pawn shop for a typewriter and so I satarted to think of all the machines I have had. I remember using the Abuelitos old type writer for high school papers and also for college papers when I went away to school. I bought an electric typewriter back in the day until I bought a clone computer the size of a dresser. Then I had a Mac laptop that was given to me at work until finally a Dell laptop. I have always been lugging something around to bang words off of.

I was interested because I have a typing machine in every room of the old apartment now and at work and in all the classrooms I work in. I wonder what Burroughs is trying to tell us about the sensuality and the viscerality of words and language and how we possibly fetishize our own complex reading and writing–to the point of self destructive addiction. The creative literacy feeding on itself.

In this scene, Bill Lee seems to be introducing drugs to author Jane Bowles and having some sort of shared experience with drugs and writing.

PS: I sent out Farmhouse in the Lanes–to TinHouse– and Rabbit Story–to Glimmer Train.

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john paul jaramillo

John Paul Jaramillo’s debut story collection The House of Order was named a 2013 Int’l Latino Book Award Finalist, and his most recent work Little Mocos is now available from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read. He is currently a professor of composition and literature at Lincoln Land College-Springfield, Illinois.

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