Category Archives: Blogs

On the occasion of Wm S. B’s 100th birthday

Below is the brief interview with William S. Burroughs I published in the May-June 1981 issue of Newcomers magazine.


I got him to agree to do it by giving him a photocopy of an Orgone Energy Bulletin (published by William Reich, whose work I discovered reading The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs).

The issue I gave him had an article about the Orgone Motor, which sounded a lot like a radiometer since it supposedly worked off of free atmospheric energy (“orgone” energy, or biological energy – the centerpiece of Reich’s later work).

The Orgone Energy Bulletin was a hard thing to get in those days, although now of course it’s all online.

I had obtained my photocopies through interlibrary loan from the Library of Congress by requesting them from the Antioch College Library (where I went to college and organized an independent study on Reich).

Anyway, I went up to Burroughs after his reading (he was in Chicago promoting “Cities of the Red Night“) and knowing of his interest in Orgone energy gave him one of the photocopies in return for a promise to respond to a brief set of interview questions for my magazine.

Unfortunately, the Orgone Energy Bulletin did not disclose the critical “factor Y” that made the Orgone motor actually work (and give free energy to the world). We were supposed to find out when Reich’s lab at Orono Maine was unsealed in 2007, 50 years after his death. But I don’t think we did.

I sent the questions off and the answers arrived a few days later, all typed on a single sheet of paper. Burroughs was living in Kansas City at the time. In the magazine I also reported on his book signing appearance at Barbara’s and his reading at Tuts, and reviewed Cities of the Red Night. I will post those articles another time.

The Interview

So here, in honor of William S. Burroughs’s 100th birthday, is the brief interview:

1. What do you say when someone asks you, “What is Cities of the Red Night about”?

It’s about a remake of history and a second chance. Sooner or later for every species time runs out. Mutate or die. This is not a religious or moral but a biologic imperative. The human species is not designed to remain in its present state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.

2. What did you think about coming to Chicago on a publicity tour like a normal author?

I felt normal. All my reading tours have been publicity tours and I have given more than a hundred readings in the past six years. One thing authors have in common: they are in the business of writing and selling books.

3. What has been the reaction so far to Cities of the Red Night?

Critical reaction has been mixed, two good reviews to one bad. Word of mouth has been unanimously enthusiastic and positive.

4. Why is there no mention of the word love in Cities of the Red Night, though there is ample opportunity for it?

The word love has been so vulgarized and loaded with sentimental connotations that I prefer not to use it. In this book the characters are working for a common end which they take for granted. Many of them experience the mixture of liking and sexual attraction that is as close as I can come to a definition of love. It is not necessary to state the obvious.

Blog spam

Would somebody please enter a legitimate comment or post a legitimate trackback?
I know I am behind on blogging, but I’ve been out of the office for most of the past couple of weeks and I get back from this week away and I have about 200 blog spam to delete and a couple of dozen phony trackbacks.
Some of the entries are pretty clever, and I guess it’s progress of a sort to have more of them about MP3s and ringtones than porn, but it is still very annoying and if anything it’s getting worse…
Maybe if I look on the bright side this is one way I know that my blog is getting some traffic? Still it would be great to get a legit comment just so I can be sure I remember what one looks like….

Two Years Before the Blog – Comments/Pings Off

I started blogging about two years ago with this entry, which was typed during the initial WS-CAF face to face meeting. This might give you some idea of what attending these type of committee meetings is like. Everyone around the room with laptops out, surfing the Web, checking email, or sometimes even paying attention to the discussion at hand, especially when it turns to something of interest.
I brought my mother along on that trip, and we went from there to Dublin. She had a great time and has been asking me ever since when I’m going again. Unfortunately most of the time the trips are not conducive to taking someone along or spending time sightseeing. I wish they were. But the trouble with traveling a lot is that you want to spend some time at home, too, and sightseeing just exacerbates the problem.
Since Steve and I started, blogs have become nearly ubiquitous. It seems like everyone has one, or at least knows about them. And blog spam — both comments and pings — has become a major nusiance. Proving once again that there is no public activity on the Internet that someone won’t try to take advantage of.
I spent more than an hour last Sunday cleaning up the stuff. We need to upgrade our installation of MovableType – the new version has much better spam control. I already have more than 3,500 URLs on my blacklist, and I’m sure many sites have multiples of that figure. It is just amazing. But of course it’s so cheap to do that it must only take a handful of folks clicking on these URLs to porn sites or gambling or music or drugs or you name it…
In the meantime I’ve taken the simple fix – turning off all comments and pings. That is the big hammer fix, and an unfortunate one, since one of the reasons for blogging is the ability to engage in dialogue with others via trackback pings and comments.
Until then, if anyone wants to leave a comment, email me and I’ll unblock them.
A sincere thanks to everyone who reads the blog, and who has commented or tracked back in the past, or who has let me know via email or in person that you have read something interesting. I will do my best to keep it up.