Kerouac Speaks

2008.01.28 Kerouac Speaks
The other day I was reading a few letters from Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1957 – 1969. Kerouac was a voracious letter writer and kept meticulous records, something akin to modern day GMail archiving all the emails you write (so be careful, they could end up in a book someday).

Anyway, it just so happened I stumbled upon this picture of Kerouac at the center of attention. It’s reminiscent of a speaking gig he did in December 1958 at New York’s Village Vanguard that I was reading about when I found this pic.

This picture really has a strong sense of place for me; a smoky room, idle chatter and clinking-glass background noise… and Jack slightly slurring his words in a drunk tirade.

Jack Kerouac

Kerouac, in his Belief and Technique for Modern Prose, set down the following 30 essentials regarding his free-flowing spontaneous prose method:

  1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
  2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
  3. Try never get drunk outside your own house
  4. Be in love with your life
  5. Something that you feel will find its own form
  6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
  7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
  8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
  9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
  10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
  11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
  12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
  13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
  14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
  15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
  16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
  17. Write in recollection and amazement for yrself
  18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
  19. Accept loss forever
  20. Believe in the holy contour of life
  21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
  22. Don’t think of words when you stop but to see picture better
  23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
  24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
  25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
  26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
  27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
  28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
  29. You’re a Genius all the time
  30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven