I came across Jack Kerouac’s list of thirty “Beliefs and Techniques for Modern Prose,” and unsurprisingly, if you’ve read Kerouac, it’s less of a list of techniques and more a poetic riff on the writing life itself.
Some of my favorites are, “Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind,” and (of course), “Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition,” and, “Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven.”
Here’ the full list:
- Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
- Submissive to everything, open, listening
- Try never get drunk outside yr own house
- Be in love with yr life
- Something that you feel will find its own form
- Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
- Blow as deep as you want to blow
- Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
- The unspeakable visions of the individual
- No time for poetry but exactly what is
- Visionary tics shivering in the chest
- In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
- Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
- Like Proust be an old teahead of time
- Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
- The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
- Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
- Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
- Accept loss forever
- Believe in the holy contour of life
- Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
- Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
- Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
- No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
- Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
- Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
- In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
- Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
- You’re a Genius all the time
- Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven
Which of the list are your favorites?
Write your own poetic riff on the writing life.
Write for fifteen minutes. When you’re finished, post your practice in the comments, and if you post, be sure to comment on a few of your writing friend’s posts.
Also, if you’d like to shorten your “yr’s,” yr welcome to do so.