Holidays

Jack Kerouac’s New Year’s Resolutions

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We’re sure Jack Kerouac is celebrating a stupendous New Year’s somewhere in the great beyond. In fact, this coming year will mark the forty-sixth anniversary of the Beat Generation writer’s death (due to cirrhosis of the liver, evidence of many a wild earthbound New Year’s). While these chunks of wisdom, taken from his Belief and Technique in Modern Prose (or, at least, the style of rapid-fire modern prose he invented and brought down with him), are geared toward writers, they’re words to live by:

  1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for your own joy
  2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
  3. Try never get drunk outside your own house
  4. Be in love with your 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 your morning
  24. No fear or shame in the dignity of your experience, language & knowledge
  25. Write for the world to read and see your 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

True, we don’t understand half of what he says, but everyone can take a line or two and run with it.

 

This article originally ran in 2009.