“Knowing you might not make it… in that knowledge courage is born.”
William S. Burroughs, The Western Lands

“Whether you like it or not, you are committed to the human endeavor. I cannot ally myself with such a purely negative goal as avoidance of suffering. Suffering is a chance you take by the fact of being alive.”
William S. Burroughs, Letters to Allen Ginsberg, 1953-1957

 “Love? What is it? Most natural painkiller what there is. LOVE”
(This is credited in “Last Words” as his final journal entry)

“There couldn’t be a society of people who didn’t dream. They’d be dead in two weeks.”

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on. A psychotic is a guy who’s just found out what’s going on.”

“You know a real friend?
Someone you know will look after your cat after you are gone.”
William S. Burroughs, Last Words: The Final Journals

“If I had my way we’d sleep every night all wrapped around each other like hibernating rattlesnakes.”

“I don’t care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it.”

“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape. ”

“Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.”

Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Philip Whalen, Boulder, Colorado, circa 1974, the year Naropa Institute was founded.
copyright Rachel Homer

Burroughs and Bowie
copyright Daily Telegraph

William Burroughs, NYC 1953
Burroughs at what looks like the 8th Avenue & 14th Street Subway station, New York City Date October 1953
Author Allen Ginsberg

burroughs_joestrummerwith Joe Strummer

with Tom Waits

burroughs-madonna1with Madonna

burrpughs_jimmypagewith Jimmy Page

williamborroughs_pattismith with Patti Smith

Embedded image permalink
Kurt Cobain visits the Burroughs home in Lawrence, KS, 1993

“William Burroughs with a Jack-O-Lantern he carved with a hatchet, October 31, 1996,” Photo © Philip Heying.
(Thanks, Amy Rohrer)


William Burroughs sits on a bench in his backyard
(either waiting for the answer or the manager)
Photo source: the Estate of William S. Burroughs

“Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.”

“So cheat your landlord if you must, but do not try to short-change the muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality.”

“I see painting as an evocative magic, and there must always be a random factor in magic, one which must be constantly changed and renewed.”

“America is not so much a nightmare as a non-dream. The American non-dream is precisely a move to wipe the dream out of existence. The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set up by the non-dreamers.”

“In my writing I am acting as a map maker, an explorer of psychic areas. . . a cosmonaut of inner space, and I see no point in exploring areas that have already been thoroughly surveyed.”

“The first and most important thing an individual can do is to become an individual again, decontrol himself, train himself as to what is going on and win back as much independent ground for himself as possible.”

“Writers, like elephants, have long, vicious memories. There are things I wish I could forget.”

“In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or die of boredom.”

“When you stop growing you start dying.”
William S. Burroughs, Junky

“There is nothing more provocative than minding your own business.”

“Love is a haunting melody that I have never mastered, and I fear I never will.”

As a young child I wanted to be a writer because writers were rich and famous. They lounged around Singapore and Rangoon smoking opium in a yellow pongee silk suit. They sniffed cocaine in Mayfair and they penetrated forbidden swamps with a faithful native boy and lived in the native quarter of Tangier smoking hashish and languidly caressing a pet gazelle.”
William S. Burroughs, The Adding Machine: Selected Essays

“Language is a virus from outer space.”

“Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.”

“I’m running out of everything now. Out of veins, out of money.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s