William Burroughs believed that to be a writer you must learn to exist and to live without religion, without country, and without allies. Most especially you must learn to see what is in front of you without prejudice. That’s what my friend Dr. Ramsey, the professor, told me just a few weeks ago on my last visit to New York. We were in a crowded, noisy diner on Third Avenue, near 56th Street, eating thick burgers and fries. He said as a writer I’m obliged to pay particular attention to my most recent trauma: being dumped by Maria. My soul mate. My one and only.
“Actually, I’d prefer to forget that particular melodrama,” I said.
“Of course you do. But eventually you’ll have to pick one of two options: Crawl into the cave--Plato's cave if you prefer--and contemplate the shadows cast by the fire. Or stay outside in the bright sunlight and grapple with what the civilians call the 'real' world.”
“Depressing,” I said. “Are there alternatives?”
“Well, I suppose I’ll take the cave.”
“Why am I not surprised?”