Outside Reading Comfort

Reading outside your assumed comfort zone can be a good thing. You learn things or techniques you might not come across anywhere else.


I picked up William Burroughs’ short novel ‘Soft Machine’ recently.  Burroughs, an innovative beat writer of the 1960s, delivers a heroin addict’s psychedelic adventures through a nightmare fantasy America, where every obscure encounter climaxes in some surreal group sex or horrific anal rape. Everyone’s devilish, filled with ulterior motives, likely to induce anarchy, bi-sexually horny as fuck, and come in and out of the story quick like shooting stars. It’s hilarious, entertaining and outrageously bold even in these times.

Before you realise you’re hooked, you ask yourself am I right with this? But it’s hooked you in. It’s flow, story, scatology are just so engrossing that you can’t put it down, and it flies by. Then it flips and these attitudes feel out of place when the insanity turns to a seemingly homosexual protagonist that’s actually an anti-gay secret agent who gets his orders from street signs and lamp posts. I’m not that far either.


Burroughs’ Cut Up & Permutation technique is what illustrates the protagonist’s world. It makes you feel like your inside a trip; like you’ve been on LSD for ten years and you’re seeing the world for what it truly is. Quite innovative and excellent to learn from. You can learn flow from it. How to compound or turn many events within a single paragraph or scene while still maintaining it’s rocket ride. It definitely feels like a crazy adventure.

From it, I’m taking away how the story’s flow makes you feel, how it hooks you in, how the narrative is structured to do all this. So, yeah, reading something that at first makes you feel a little uncomfortable is definitely worth sticking out. I mean, who knows, you may learn the secret of the fucking universe… or at least how to write a little better :-d



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