Just Notice. That's It.

Elizabeth Lowry, Arizona State University

(Published: February 5, 2015)

Burroughs emphasizes the importance of noticing the world around us and attending to what we are "thinking and feeling at a given time." A great deal of discipline is required to "just notice." In addition to self-awareness and an eye for detail, noticing may mean temporarily adopting another person's subject position or moving our focus back and forth between the familiar and the unfamiliar. When Burroughs says that writing has to "move," he speaks of the potential accumulation of detail—the accretion of all that we have attended to—coming together in the service of a narrative.