"Hey, how is doze Boiling Hippos?"
Reading through Naked Lunch has been a wild ride. Sure I'm game for this stream of consciousness, borderline open verse marathon run and I enjoy inventing half words and compound phrases (the impression, perhaps, of thoughts bursting), though in this case I feel Burroughs has perfected 'vomit of consciousness' at a sustained level. His pacing is constant and astoundingly so, the sly references spilling off the page and confounding all attempts at context.
I have to say the greatest impact for me was at the tail end of the work, reading the appendices. After wallowing in 170+ pages of noxious filth, much of it taking turns in revulsion and hilarity, I'm hit with incredible calm and structure by the editors and then Burroughs himself -- as they document the history of the writing of Naked Lunch in all its various edits, and the author's own straightforward letter on choice drugs and their effects, written for a medical periodical. This contrast in tone is striking and allows for a bit of decompression. What flips my noodle even more is how many re-writes and extensive process drafts and shuffling went on by Burroughs, Ginsberg, Kerouac, that they were able to maintain the feel of oblivion in the final text. Sober decisions with distinctly sobering material.
And that reminds me... this post over at Illustration Art articulates a relevant point.