I just finished reading Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. It’s a jumbled, fragmented, vulgar, obscene, drug addled, stream of consciousness mess. I hated it. And I loved it. The book is difficult to read, but worth the effort. Burroughs doesn’t push the boundaries of societal conventions – he obliterates them in an unrestrained, mocking, satirical, self-loathing rant. My fingers are still burning from turning the pages.
Why do the brightest creative minds burn hot and fast? Burroughs, somehow, made it to the age of eighty three, but others weren’t so fortunate.
Richard Farina, counter-culture author, singer, and composer, was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of twenty nine. He was married to the younger sister of Joan Baez. Some considered him the equal of Bob Dylan.
Robert Ervin Howard committed suicide at the age of thirty. Howard was a pulp fiction author and the creator of Conan the Barbarian. He is credited as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre of literature.
Jack Kerouac, literary iconoclast and Beat Generation pioneer, died at the age of forty seven.
Let’s not forget the world of music and the infamous “27 Club.” Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, and the list goes on.
I want to burn. I want to write like Faulkner. I want to create music like Brian Wilson. I want to sing like Greg Allman. I want to make a guitar howl like Stevie Ray Vaughan. I want to cover the world in chocolate syrup and candy sprinkles and swallow it whole.