Friday, May 14, 2010

William Burroughs

"First of all, I recognized writing as a magical operation, and since such operations are designed to produce specific results, this leads us to an inquiry as to the purposes of writing. Remember that the written word is an image; that the first writing was pictorial, and so painting and writing were at one time a single operation. [...] The original invention from which writing developed was quite simply to create on a cave wall images and scenes: hunting, and often so-called pornographic drawings. The purpose was originally ceremonial or magical, and when the work is separated from its magical function, it loses vitality. That is, when some tribe starts making dolls for tourists, it's gone. And that is what bestsellers are doing - whole valleys of dolls and shark teeth for the tourists. It may make money but it isn't magical. I know Dali says the measure of genius is gold, and I agree that artists should be at least as well-paid as plumbers."
-William S. Burroughs, "Ten Years and a Billion Dollars"

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