I've spent a lot of time avoiding William S Burroughs. I'm not even quite sure why. I think it had something to do with the fact that it was my older brother who introduced him to me and so I tied them together in a bundle of nerves and opinions in my brain. Not that there's anything really wrong with my brother, just that, well, you know... I can be stubborn, and I like being the discoverer of treasure as opposed to having it handed to me while I wait patiently, in fact, unawares, on deck.
And then there's the fact that the first time I tried to read Burroughs, it was 'exterminator' that I happened to pick up.
Even when he popped up in and among the other writers I carried around in my ribcage with all my other valuables- Bukowski, Thompson- I tried to skip over him. And then I happened upon 'Junky'. And then 'Junky' brought me to 'Queer' and then 'Queer' brought me to the internet where I found old recordings of him reading, and then 'Naked Lunch', etc, etc. And here's what I know is true: No one can stitch an image together with such texture and spark as Burroughs at his best. At his worst even, Burrough's is brave and new and odd and a bit mad; and these qualities in themselves are worth seeking him out for.
"In my writing I am acting as a map maker, an explorer of psychic areas, a cosmonaut of inner space, and I see no point in exploring areas that have already been thoroughly surveyed."
-William S. Burroughs
Check youtube.com for readings, documentaries and random Burroughsness. For example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6JqjCB_7_I&feature=related