03 March 2011

Kerouac's Thirty Essentials for Spontaneous Prose

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

Every writer should know these. But some are more essential than others.

Be in love with your life

I think one of my philosophies has always been that it's easier to write when you have a wealth of experiences to pull from. Maybe it was my way of justifying a perceived sense of inferiority when I started hanging out with people who had received undergrad degrees in English or lit. (Telling myself Hemingway was great because of the life he lived rather than the degrees he'd received.)

Even if it's not true, it's a hell of a good way to live. Making a life for yourself rather than living what was given to you. Not sure if I've succeeded, but I'm working on it. Music, travel, friends, food and drink, sipping Jameson on my front porch and strumming my guitar, watching the sun rise over the Atlantic or the Alps or the Alleghenies. I've always believed I had to have the life I wanted before I ever got published and became wildly successful. Because no matter what, I'll always have a life I love.

Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition

Haiku, lyrics, photo captions, texts. All of these are acceptable. Who says it all has to be straight prose?

Believe in the holy contour of life

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. That's all we really are. Accept and live like you know you're not going to see tomorrow.

You're a Genius all the time

Damn straight, I am. It's just that not everybody's going to realize it. But they will. Hell, yeah, they will.

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