I spoke with William S. Burroughs a few times in the final years of his life. I miss him, and recently I was shocked but happy to hear his voice again — it was coming out of the pages of Dostoyevsky.
William S. Burroughs often suggested that one’s dreams are a valuable target for the writer to plunder. But what he never said, nor made explicit, was how the dreams of others might provide a writer with direction and material. And yet it happened to him: the dream of a literary character, as it occurs inside a novel of the past, appears to have given Burroughs a massive treasure cache.
We didn’t know what to expect. Between the eight us there were only two bulletproof vests. And we all had our girls to worry about. As Loren Feldman the filmmaker said, they were “uncontrollable” and insisted that they remain in the thick of it. One of them’s pregnant. So a handful of us drove out to a mall in suburban Cleveland to prepare. We took a green Kia Soul that, for the week of the 2016 Republican National Convention at least, was an alt-right Pepe mobile, fat-lipped grin on the front grille made from two strips of wide, rose-colored rubber. Not everyone knew their memes; you either got it and smiled or you just didn’t see.