I have often noticed that after I bestowed on the characters of my novels some treasured item of my past, it would pine away in the artificial world where I had so abruptly placed it. Although it lingered on in my mind, its personal warmth, its retrospective appeal had gone and, presently it became more closely identified with my novel than with my former self, where it seemed to be so safe from the intrusion of the artist. Houses have crumbled in my memory as soundlessly as they did in the mute films of yore, and the portrait of my old French governess, whom I once lent to a boy in one of my books, is fading fast, now that it is engulfed in the description of a childhood entirely unrelated to my own.
[Nabakov, in Speak, Memory]
‘Dr Paine of the Space Center in Houston says: “This flight was a triumph for the squares of this world who aren’t ashamed to say a prayer now and then.” Is this the great adventure of space? Are these men going to take the step into regions literally unthinkable in verbal terms? To travel in space you must leave the old verbal garbage behind: God talk, country talk, mother talk, love talk, party talk. You must learn to exist with no religion, no country, no allies. You must learn to live alone in silence. Anyone who prays in space is not there.’
[From: Word Virus. The Williams Burroughs Reader. Eds J Grauerholz & I Silverberg. London: Flamingo]