Happy Birthday Jack Kerouac

I can’t believe today was Jack Kerouac’s birthday and I almost missed it. On The Road is definitely one of my favorite books. I love Kerouac’s free-flow style and way of describing things that was so distinctly his own. Whenever I read it, it’s so hard not to imitate it. I have to be careful.

I first started reading On The Road back when I was stuck in a hospital for a week having stomach problems. It helped to get me through, and gave me that desire once I got out to get back into writing, taking a chance on my own unique style for telling stories. That was when I got busy on my Poor Percival Stories. Nothing inspires me to start writing like reading a good book, especially one with a truly unique writing style. There’s no substitute.


Kerouac laid out some writing tips which he called “Belief and Technique for Modern Prose.” Some of them are a little out there and even I’m not sure what they mean. But they sound cool. And other ones are pure awesomeness. Look at #29. Yep, that’s right. I think he was on to something. I don’t think he followed #3 very much. But they’re just guidelines, so…it’s OK.

  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. 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

And here’s a video of him reading one of my favorite passages from On The Road. I would love to have an audio book version of him reading the entire book. Sadly, of course, that will never be.

Happy birthday, Jack.

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