I mentioned quirky obsure writing advice in my last post, and this may be the holy grail of it.
Instead of going straight into the advice, here’s a little background on what I’ll be discussing.
Jack Kerouac was part of a group of writers that started a movement which came to be known as the Beat Generation. None of the writers, including Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, were very accepting of the title given to them as “beats” or “beatniks”, nevertheless, that is how they are known. You can hear these guys talk a little about the beat generation here.
As I mentioned before, I write mostly poetry. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg have influenced my writing greatly, with Ginsberg’s poem “Howl“, and Kerouac’s novel “On the Road”, to name a couple.
I’ve always been intrigued by not only their ability to write, but also their lifestyles and friendships.
When writing, especially poetry, it has to come from some place inside, unknown to the world. Many of my poems are a journey of self discovery, taken from a part of me I had no knowledge of existing.
This kind of writing is what Kerouac refers to in his list of 30 writing techniques titled “Belief and Technique for Modern Prose“.
There is no doubt that this list is unconventional with techniques like #3 “Try never get drunk outside yr own house” and #13 “Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition”, but it’s also very inspiring and introspective, such as #2 “Submissive to everything, open, listening”, #8 “Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind”, and #4 “Be in love with yr life”.
Although geared toward prose, these suggestions have much to offer to any writer.
In the article “Jack Kerouac’s List of 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Prose and Life“, Maria Popova refers to Kerouac’s list as not only a “blueprint for writing”, but also “a meditation on life”.
I can’t describe it more adequately.
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
I especially like #29 “You’re a Genius all the time”, #24 “No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge”, and #17 “Write in recollection and amazement for yourself”.
When writing, especially creatively, you have to use your personal experiences, and who is better to delegate your experiences in writing other than you?
Kerouac emphasizes that you are the master of you, and that is something you should be proud of whether writing or not.
Thanks for taking the time to read.
I hope you’ve been inspired.