I can't believe I never saw this before! It's a list that Jack Kerouac once wrote of the "essentials" of writing which he called Belief and Technique for Modern Prose. Here's the list with my comments after each one based on my own writing experiences.
Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for your own joy
I used to keep notebooks and I agree they are essential to the beginning writer, even if you are writing only to yourself. I lost all my old notebooks, which is a shame.
Submissive to everything, open, listening.
Yes, especially listening. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to listen.
Try never get drunk outside your own house.
He failed to follow this advice and so did I.
Be in love with your life.
Something that you feel will find its own form.
I've often had the experience that I don't really have a clear idea of how I want something to turn out, but then discovered that it will find a form of its own if I will only begin.
Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind.
I'm not sure exactly what this means, but I agree.
Blow as deep as you want to blow.
Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind.
Yes, go as deep as you can.
The unspeakable visions of the individual.
Writing is a solitary activity and only you know what those visions are.
No time for poetry but exactly what is.
Not true. You can tell what is and still take time to be poetic.
Visionary tics shivering in the chest.
The only way to let them out is to write them out.
In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you.
Drugs will take you there, but then you don't feel like writing.
Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition.
No rules should restrain a first draft, but eventually words have to have structure.
Like Proust be an old teahead of time.
Proust was a teahead? I think he means get into reflecting on your own past like it was drug. Remember the past is the only pure resource you have.
Telling the true story of the world in interior monologue.
We all have that monologue going in our heads - so write it out!
The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye.
Statements like this is what comes of hanging out with Dr. Leary.
Write in recollection and amazement for yourself.
Writing that doesn't please yourself won't please anybody else.
Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea.
More of Leary's mischief.
Accept loss forever.
Okay, but only if I can accept gain forever too!
Believe in the holy contour of life.
There is a holiness to life, and you know what I'm talking about even if you pretend to yourself that you don't.
Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind.
That's the challenge really, to get it on paper as good as it is in your head.
Don't think of words when you stop but to see picture better.
Don't tell: Show.
Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in your morning.
It is worth remembering that every day is irreplaceable and unrepeatable.
No fear or shame in the dignity of your experience, language and knowledge.
I write everything that is relevant to me, without holding back due to phoney standards of propriety or fear. An honest appraisal of reality is never shameful.
Write for the world to read and see your exact pictures of it.
How exact the picture I create with words depends on my inspiration and talent, but it's all out there for the world to read and judge.
Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form.
Be the hero of your own movie. For better or worse, I think America has made more great movies than great books.
In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness.
Alone in the dark our true character is all we have.
Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better.
Maybe not the crazier the better, but crazy is still good.
You're a Genius all the time.
Thanks, but that attitude might not inspire the best revisions!
Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven.
I guess I'll write my earthly thought-movies and the angels can read what they will.
Politicians are worse than thieves. At least when thieves take your money, they don't expect you to thank them for it. - Walter Williams
Tis the Season
I see they installed armrests on the benches in Northampton's Coolidge Park to prevent the homeless from sleeping on them.
I also see they're putting up the Christmas lights.
Well if you have no place to sleep at least you can admire the lights.
Surfing around I stumbled upon how Amherst College went crazy photographing the Amherst 250th birthday parade that was held several weeks ago. I must admit it was a great day, despite the rain.
State Representative Ellen Story.
Congressman John Olver, who seems to be everywhere these days.
Amherst politicos Stephanie O'Keefe and Gerry Weiss.
Motown Bernie with his bucket and gazoo.
One of our local bears joined in the fun.
To see all 164 photos go here.
I like it when someone sends me a picture from a concert I went to years ago. Here's Jack Cassady of Hot Tuna at the Music Inn in Lenox, Ma. on September 5, 1976.