Continue reading “I Must Be Myself”
It was then that I sensed somewhere deep in my memory a recollection stir like a shadow, and as the shadow advanced through a gate in the garden of remembrance that opened into another garden, only to continue through a second and then a third and fourth gate, I felt all through this familiar process the gates of my own personality open and close as I was being transformed into another person who could become involved and happy with that shadow; it was then that I’d catch myself before I began to speak with that other person’s voice.
This may serve as a justification for the disorder I have allowed to invade my narrative. In order to preserve the sequence of Garcia's stories, I have sacrificed my own. It is a good excuse anyway.
In the 1940s Filipe Alfau wrote his best-known novel, Chromos; it was published in 1990 and hailed as a prototype for the postmodern novel. Now I thought Tristram Shandy held this honor but I’ll admit that Chromos does benefit from a few of the postmodern tropes. Chromos also suggests the argument between the tenets of the New Criticism and the more modern literary scholarship that might explicate a passage based on what the author had for breakfast that day.
The blurb posted on Amazon is informative and succinct:
I was introduced to William S. Burroughs back in the early ’60s. As so often happens, a teacher made mention of this strange author who was cutting up his writings and pasting them back together in what purported to be a more imaginative order. I had to see this for myself so I ran over to Papa Bach and grabbed my own copy of Naked Lunch. At that time I read about half of the book and set it aside to allow my brain cells to calm down; in the summer I started it all over again and made it all the way to the last page. Like reading a novel in a foreign language, I felt I had a vague understanding of what went on in the narrative but certainly wasn’t fully satisfied that I understood Naked Lunch and William S. Burroughs.
Since that time I have read Naked Lunch (or parts of it) several times and have a much better understanding of both the novel and the technique Burroughs used to “write” it.