Friday, June 13, 2003

Jack Kerouac's Rules for Writing

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 love Kerouac's rules for writing.... because they are rules for living as well. From every direction we are told that our experience is unimportant and that we are not good enough. The newscasters and movie makers and advertisers want us to be afraid, insecure and discontented. They feed us stories of celebrities, rock stars, the rich and the famous. They define beauty and sell it to us. They define genius and sell it to us. They define art and sell it to us. They define music and sell it to us.

But Hakim Bey is right: The artist is NOT a special kind of person; every person is a special kind of artist. So "Be in love with yr life", however bold, magnificent, or wretched it is.... have "no fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge". For artists, poets, and nomads in America, this can be tough-- but it is vital. We must reclaim the dignity of our own lives. "Write in recollection and amazement for yourself".... WRITE FOR YOURSELF! Not to be discovered. Not to make money. Not to show everyone how cool you are. Do it for yourself-- in celebration and in mourning for your own experience.

And most of all, no matter what those uptight bastards say, never forget that "You're a Genius all the time".

Write. Write. Write.

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