Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Reading Naked Lunch

More vivid dreams last night, but nothing directly related to the book. When I fall asleep and see my characters, then I’ll know I’m fully immersed in this thing. I’m getting more done each day, but it’s still slow.

The reading of Naked Lunch has been smooth, my best attempt yet. Although I’m into all of this beat generation posturing, I’ve never read Naked Lunch all the way through. I love the movie, and I’ve read other WSB stuff. And I love On the Road – I manage to re-read it every year. But I always seem to get stuck partway through NL. It’s a hard book to read – you need to take it slow, and really pay attention. It’s not 100% linear, so you have to be prepared when it throws you by talking about a character that hasn’t been introduced yet. But it’s making more sense now, and giving me ideas.

Nothing else.

06/17/98 22:11

Sometimes, when I pull into my parking spot just as the song on tape is ending, I wonder if this is all choreographed. But, you can drive yourself nuts trying to figure that one out. You’ll end up putting your hand into a radial arm saw and shouting “I bet that wasn’t planned!”

The original soundtrack/score from the movie Naked Lunch is one of my most prized CDs. And I didn’t even buy it – Ray Miller gave it to me when he was in Seattle in 1995. Howard Shore in front of the London Phil, with a lot of horn work from Ornette Coleman. It’s simply incredible, laid-back, eerie stuff. It has this eerie jazz/bop feel, like you’re wandering the dark streets of New York circa 1948, but other tracks have the slightly Tangiers feel of Interzone. A lot of people slag the movie for its variance from the book (not me – I love it) but this music is unmistakably incredible. I was reading the book last night, and I put in the CD – it really hit the spot.

Every once in a while, Michael Stutz sends me something in the mail that makes me think we should find a third writer and start our own beat generation. He could be Al Ginsberg (he’s met him like a million times) and I could get a little more weirded out and be Bill Burroughs. Now all we need is a Kerouac, and maybe a Cassady for kicks. Anyway, Micheal wrote a highly indugent, first-person novel called Sunclipse, that reminds me a lot of Summer Rain. Even more than that, I think we both went through a similar process in writing – the need to get the feelings down, to capture the past, and the inability to turn anyone else on to such a plottless journey. Today he sent me a story he wrote after finishing Sunclipse, that talked about why he wrote it, and reminded me a lot of the writing I did on the third book, about why I wanted to work on Summer Rain. It makes me realize I’m not alone in the work I did on SR, even though I feel alone in that few people have read it or understood what was going on.

I ate at Jack in the Box for the first time tonight. I know, it’s a death sentence, “we cook the shit out of our burgers”, etc. It’s a weird little place because they offer so much on their menu – weird stuff like fish and chips, tacos, breakfast, pita bowls, and more – it’s not just burgers, burgers, and one fish sandwich. I was going to get an antenna ball for my office or something, but I didn’t for some reason. The food’s okay, but I really shouldn’t be eating hamburgers.

I was listening to the track “Welcome to Annexia”, and someone outside honked their horn in almost perfect time with one part, so it sounded like it belonged on CD. As Bill would say, nothing is true; everything is permitted.