1. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    Kerouac List of Essentials

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ClusterChuck, Mar 17, 2012.

    Belief & Technique
    For Modern Prose
    by Jack Kerouac
    List of Essentials​

    1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
    2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
    3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
    4. Be in love with yr 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 yourself
    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. Dont 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


    Everything I needed to know about writing^^^

    What above do you believe, or is it all gibberish? To me it's all scripture.
     
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  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    What worked for him may not work for everyone else. So I would take the advice/beliefs of other writers (no matter how famous) with a grain of salt.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    2. Submissive to everything, open, listening

    -I love this one.
     
  4. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Not so much secret, but this. I love my journals.

    And this. Because nothing ever comes out like it is in my head, not the first time.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "I like to keep an open mind, but not so open my brains fall out." - Judge Harry Stone of Night Court OR Arthur Sulzberger, Chairman of the New York Times

    Kerouac's list is more about his lifestyle than about writing. In either case, I'm not inclined to take on anyone's list wholesale.
     
  6. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    cogito, yes night court is mad boss status but:

    "Something that you feel will find its own form"

    Is universally sage advise when it comes to the written word.
     
  7. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    These are the one that stuck with me, the rest didn't inspire me.
    4. Be in love with yr life
    8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
    10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
    29. You're a Genius all the time

    Thanks for sharing this.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    like thirdwind and cog, i don't take other writers' advice/adjurations as gospel...
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think anyone else is either - they are commenting on the parts that resonate with them.

    It's like watching/listening to famous authors when they do BBC education shows or interviews on the radio and they talk about their process. It is fun to think ooh I do that or they come up with something I'd never considered and I think oh great I'll try that and see if it works. Listening to Michael Morpurgo, (he is the one who could write a how to write and I would probably follow most of it anyway), Jaqueline Wilson, Rebecca Abrams and Phillip Pullman recently added to my confidence. Caroline Bird encouraged me to have a go at poetry. All write great stories and it was fun to listen to them. I came away from a talk by Iain (M) Banks with some great ideas. It isn't much different to using their books for tips.


    These are also interesting, because here is the thinking in scenes. When was this written ClusterChuck ?
     
  10. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    You catch what I'm throwing Elgaisma. When i said i take this as scripture i meant it as a source of inspiration. Each one i can take something from. Not an entire career or style to copy and paste. Not as gospel.

    It's like, here's a list of passages. Does any of them click with you? Or does the simple genius of this piece only strike me?

    Also, I believe Kerouac's lifestyle and writing sytle were inseparable entities, cogito. He poured one into the other for the sake of both. And eventual destruction of both.

    This was written in 1959.
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    He takes some translating but it's fun. I hate tea bluerghh!! So I'll be throwing that one out and I much prefer a banana (sometimes with rum) and peanut butter smoothies when writing lol Once I worked out what he was on about it was worth reading and I agreed with a lot of it.

    This I think sums my writing up the best:
    For me the limits are our imagination and it is connected to the first one I liked the listening without abandon, taking in information from anywhere and everywhere.

    Soak up the information and use it in craziest what ifs.

    I love writing children's stories for this very reason you can throw everything at them, and have fun. When they are read to children they join in with you and are partners in the wild crazies.

    Julia Donaldson's the Gruffalo is for me a classic example of this, with each description she gets wilder in how the Gruffalo looks. She also did it with Monkey Puzzle when the monkey was looking for his parent and the butterfly was showing him more and more outlandish potential parents, because her babies don't look like her.

    1959 is interesting because it looks like thinking in scenes to write was established in some quarters by then.
     
  12. Elvis
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    Elvis Member

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    #7 sounds like ol' Jack had some wild nights.
     
  13. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    What the hell does "3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house" have to do with writing, and what kind of advice is that anyway? Bars/Pubs are much more fun :) (provided you don't try and drive home)
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it leads on from number 2. It is much easier to soak up what is going on around you constantly when sober and a lot of fun when you are the only one. :)

    Most of them seem to be interweaved so number 2 informs number 3. Number 3 informs number 4 and number 4 informs number 3.
     
  15. Whirlwind
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    Whirlwind Member

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    This is the brand. Even he didn't abide by these.

    Read about Kerouac and you will discover that he was not the cool dude you think.
     
  16. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does he have to be a cool dude in order for his writings resonate? Sometimes it is better not to know our heroes and let their memory do the work we need it to.

    I love Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton as a writer I aspire to be like them. Their lives were a far bigger mess than mine is.
     
  17. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    Just because i know the ten commandments were a politically motivated manifesto and not the words of humanized flaming shrubbery does not lessen my fascination with it as a piece of timeless literature with resonating implications. The 'Cool Dude" brand of jack is the flaming bush. He knew that. I know that. And the elevation of that image only adds to the breath of anything he has left us.

    For the record, Kerouac I have read, read about, and discovered. We have an understanding him and I. For I have Been to the mountain top!!!
     
  18. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    Well, 1, I suppose, and 3, and 4, 21, sort of, 25, sort of. The rest if not gibberish to me contradicts my view of writing. I'm no romantic artist.

    Everyone's different, I guess. I'm not about to try to disillusion ClusterChuck, and besides I don't know who Kerouac is. I wouldn't take all the advice. I wouldn't take all of anyone's advice; chances are it wouldn't suit. But some people have really good advice. Life is making the best composite.
     
  19. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Did you remove your shoes before speaking to the great one with the flaming bush ?
     
  20. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'm sure there must be some resonance for many of us in them, but I personally find many of them slightly confusing more than anything else. For example Number 11 - Visionary Tics shivering in the chest? What on earth does that mean? Obviously given my online identity I have to be somewhat alarmed that I'm expected to be stuffed in a chest while freezing cold!

    And then number 14 - can't really say I am a reader of Proust, and truthfully don't know a lot about him - but what the heck is a Teahead?

    And then there's number 6 - Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind? Well err? Just how many sheets to the wind was he when he wrote this? Though of course in accord with number 3, I hope it wasn't outside his own home!

    Possibly I'm simply too limited to understand genius.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  21. Aramis
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    Aramis Member

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    I don't think it's gibberish or scripture but needs to be understood in the context of his time and lifestyle.
    Never get too close to your heroes- they will only break your heart. I am a big fan of the beat movement but there is good and bad in this style like any other.
    Always think for yourself and be selective (and On the Road was an innovative classic).
     
  22. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    I totally agree with the proximity of heroes deal. That's why i keep the idea of them and their work on a pedestal just north of mortal. Isn't that what we are all aiming for when we put down in words the hazing constructs of our minds. Immortality and all that.
     

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