Writer’s Desk: Get Outside Yourself

Though William S. Burroughs’ writing frequently left reality behind (Naked Lunch‘s Mugwumps and whatnot), a surprising amount of it was based on his life. The details of his Midwestern upbringing and years as a wastrel flâneur were frequently reworked in his fiction.

Still, Burroughs found it crucial for his writing to get past the limitations of self. As he once told fellow Beat and occasional collaborator Allen Ginsberg, that came with risks:

The only way I can write narrative is to get right outside my body and experience it. This can be exhausting and at times dangerous. One cannot be sure of redemption…

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