Open 32: Writing Like a Kerouac

WotthedukHere’s a new writing exercise.  Let me know how it works for you.  Feel free to post your results in the comment section below.

Here’s a passage by Jack Kerouac about how to get your writing mojo on.  I’m lifting it from the Language is a Virus website.  Let it be your guide as you write using the photograph posted below as your springboard.

    List of Essentials

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

    As ever,


Kerouac "Belief & Technique For Modern Prose: List of Essentials"
from a 1958 letter to Don Allen, in Heaven & Other Poems, copyright
© 1958, 1977, 1983. Grey Fox Press.

Photograph by Richard Misrach.

To see more writing projects posted on Big Window, click here.

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