Duly Quoted

"A library is a hospital for the mind."

No time for poetry but exactly what is

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Love and popsicles,


Text: Belief and Techniques for Modern Prose, a list by Jack Kerouac

This post is obviously of a slightly different nature, since I’m not actually taking excerpts at all. Rather, I’m including the text (a very short list) in its entirety and bolding my favorite nuggets.

So. Kerouac. I think he’s great, brilliant, liberating, a pioneer, etc etc just like a lot of 20 year olds. But I don’t really think he’s God. I mean, I enjoyed On The Road, but I was…dare I say it?…bored in parts. I thought certain sections ran on a lot farther than my attention span could handle, and amounted little more than cracked-out rambling. Le gasp. I don’t know if that makes me less poetic or literary or scholarly or whatever, but it’s what I felt. And I feel a lot of silly things sometimes! That is to say: my review/impression of a book is never set in stone. Maybe someday I’ll come into the epic universal light of writerly wisdom and “understand.”

Regardless, I still love a lot of On The Road (heyyyy I should type up my underlines sometime), and I think his collection of Haikus is probably one of my favorites (especially the wacky drawings that were included in my copy! Jack Kerouac=the world’s most underrated doodle-artist!). And I really need to read Dharma Burns.

Anyhow, I found this list a few years back while researching for an AP English V (OHHHH lordy) project, and promptly taped it to my wall. I especially like the bolded points, obviously–my fave has to be “be in love with yr life.” Wise words, Kerouac. Wise words indeed. A few of the statements seem suspiciously like any other drugged-up hippie’s tagline, but I suppose that doesn’t necessarily render them worthless. And on grayer days I tend to scowl at parts of it (the other day, for instance, I misplaced my iPod…and eventually found it in the freezer. So no, Jack Kerouac, I’m not actually a genius all of the time.), but I can see a sort of usefulness in the beliefs themselves, if that makes sense? (If Jack Kerouac hadn’t told himself he was such a genius, he might have been too busy being self-deprecating to write anything at all).

So: whatcha think!? I guess I question how well this philosophy served him, since he died young and spent a good portion of his time here drunk/high out of his mind, bringing up the “can drug addiction/mental illness ever be ultimately beneficial to artistic productivity” debate–any thoughts on that?Also, I’d love to hear people’s interpretations of the more ambiguous lines, or responses to the more straightforward!



  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
Sometimes illusions are the solutions?

Sometimes illusions are solutions?


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