Calling Dr Benway

William S. Burroughs

I had my overnight bag from our trip to visit grampa. My pain medicine and anti-inflammatory pills for my ankle were in that bag. Taking them out the lid popped off. I found myself digging for pills in my dirty underwear. It was just like being in Trainspotting, or maybe some junkie character in a William S. Burroughs novel. I definitely have had finer moments.

“Calling Dr. Benway, can you write me a script, kind sir?”

Picture by Richie Brown, CC licensed via Flickr.

Beat Writers Haunt the Web

Recently I blogged about my geeky writing of a computer program to do Burroughsian style cutups nearly 20 years ago. Now I’ve found a website with lots of cool stuff, including a cut-up generator at Language is a Virus.

Something else I really dug was this list of Kerouac’s Belief and Technique for Modern Prose. Crazy beat generation wisdom, daddy-o!

God’s Little Toys

Here’s a cool opinion piece in Wired by William Gibson about digital remix culture. He cites William S. Burroughs’ experiments with cut-and-paste and his cut-up experiments as part of his personal inspiration.

When I was a co-op student in college, I wrote in PETOS Basic a computer program to do random Burroughs style cut-up of input sentences. This ran on a Perkin-Elmer infrared spectrometer, back in the days when having standalone computers was uncommon. I typed in passages from Naked Lunch and printed out the mashed up versions and read them to my friends until they asked me to stop. Reading this bit from Gibson reminded me of all that.