Friday, October 12, 2012

You're A Genius All The Time

Back to writers/books that have influenced and inspired me

I don't know when or why or how I first picked up On the Road* by Jack Kerouac. It was probably to fill in a blank in a pop culture reference. I may not remember the particulars, but I remember the power. It was not so much the story line, as it was the words. That is why I will never see a film adaptation of any of Kerouac's works. A film could never capture all the words and the cadence of those words that leave you almost out of breath. It is often said that he lived on the edge of crazy and craft, and I do tend to like my writers a little crazy. Crazy has the potential to be something new and different and true. Crazy words are the ones that come tumbling out of your mind and mouth even when you try to keep them inside. Crazy words demand to be spoken and written and listened.  Kerouac's words are fast and plenty, you can turn page after page, after page and not hit an ending period. And these words are alive and beautiful, they sing and dance and shout out at you right from the page.

And reading Kerouac gives me the itch to write fiction. And also the desire to bang away feverishly on an old clunky typewriter with no correction type or spellcheck, but all that is for another time and place. Fiction, or  writing fiction, scares me a little bit;  fiction can be way more personal than non-fiction. For in fictionally created worlds and made up characters there is a lot of truth, and a lot of the a lot of truth seeps in and out when you don't expect it to.  In my college creative writing classes I would often write about things and people that were seemingly so different from me and my life. I would get a lot  of "why would you write about that," comments. But those characters that seemed so different from me, really weren't. I could slip in emotions and dialogue and a few crazy words that I couldn't say in my carefully crafted real life. 

 This last week I bought a shiny new spiral notebook, I always write fiction pen to the paper first. But that notebook is sitting on my desk, still shiny and new and unblemished. There a  little bit of nervousness, a little bit of vulnerable fear, a little bit of not knowing what that pen is going to write, what words and stories are going to come out of me. And a whole lot of, just keep it together until the end of the year. But sometimes words and stories don't wait and don't follow schedules. 

During moments of writer's block, whether caused by fear or blankness of mind,  I have turned to  Jack Keruac's Belief & Technique For Modern Prose:

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

*On the Road is Kerouac's most famous book, and no matter where I live there is a always a copy on my bookshelf. Other favorites are Big Sur and Desolation Angels. 

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