Paul Sempschi wrote:
I'm glad Vol 2's getting such praise, I'm pretty pumped to get my copy. The inclusion of the Capote letter's wonderful news, classic Burroughs hijinx.
Recently, I've been going through Dead Fingers Talk and the Cut Up trilogy, they havent held up well for me. Wonderful ideas and lines, but you have to wade through so much television static to find them. Maybe I'm just getting cynical, maybe these are a Catcher in the Rye sort of deal, where they mainly speak to the young. Like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, where the adults sympathize for Nurse Ratchett and her awful place of employment.
Cut Ups make great films, concrete poems and scrap books, but as a hallucinogenic-story format, no. One of the big rules of prose is to make the reader forget he's reading (and if it isnt, it should be). The early stuff and a lot of Naked Lunch still does it for me.
I'm having more and more enthusiasm for his essays though. I've been pouring over The Third Mind excerpts from Word Virus, wonderful, brilliant hilarious stuff. And it sounds like Vol. 2's got a lot of that in it... thoughts, anecdotes/bitchy gossip and current circumstances (Bill needs something from addressee!)
As far as Bill hating mooches, from what I gather from Vol 1 and interviews, he respected mutually beneficial relationships. Either a straight up friend for a sympathetic ear or information... some boy peddling ass for cash... or a junk connection. It seems like that was the level he was working on; Allerton was given unsolicited cash, gifts and invitations for trips, Allen, the literary student and fledging poet, was given reams and reams of literature in a medium where he would have to reply, thereby returning affection.
I'm not sure about Huncke, but wasnt Allen constantly gossiping news about his other junk buddy, Garver? Suggesting Allen kept contact while Bill, cut them out.
Then you have Neal Cassady, who Bill constantly disparages (pre-hots for Allen). There's a specific remark in one of his letters about how the moment Neal realized he wasnt getting any cash off Bill, he 'cooled' considerably. And with Jack in Mexico, Bill did nothing but bitch about how irresponsible he was and how much of a pain it was to camp out with him. Sure, he kept in touch, like a lot of friendships, they had their hot and cold periods, but, especially with Jack, the same old complaints keep coming up in Vol 1. And I dont remember him saying a single nice thing about Neal in those letters, maybe a polite greeting. Even after Neal kicked it, the closest thing Bill came to a compliment was the deceased's capacity for silence... something about a long quiet drive in contrast to Dean Moriarty's benny rants.
The day that i sympathise with THAT cunt (Ratchett), is that day i take my life. sheeesh!