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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sir Jack of America

If everything has gone to timetable, and Sir Hook and Sir Bowie have once again given me kind space on the KMSA blog, then the morning tides will have raised the capes of Delaware and I will have once again waded ashore, from the UK, into the New World, and will be sat in The White Horse Tavern in Greenwich Village NY on the 12th of March raising a glass of beer, to celebrate the birthday, and hopefully my proposed Honorary KMSA status, of, who I consider to be America's greatest example of the spirit of the KMSA, Jack Kerouac.

Kerouac's plain speak manner of writing prose, as well as his nearly long-form haiku style of poetry has inspired countless modern neo-beat writers and artists, amongst them myself, and while I’m not going to use this space to discuss the full merits of his character and life, what I have distilled from everything he did, selfish or otherwise, is that Jack was always true to himself, and that from experience I know how hard it is to pin down the free floating emotional thistledown that everyone has, as everyday thoughts, into a readable and ultimately saleable form. Methods or manner aside, he accomplished this, where others simply just talk about doing it.

Kerouac's search for a life worth living in the 1950's led him to travel, not only across North America but throughout the world, during which he wrote constantly, carrying notebooks with him everywhere, always pictured with the thick square journals tucked in the breast pockets of his workaday shirts.

Letters to friends and family members tended to be long and rambling, including great detail about his daily life and thoughts. He wrote about the deeper meaning of society and the world as he saw it, he explored too his own spiritual values, moving from Catholicism to Buddhism and back, and while his fame would come as an unmanageable surge that would ultimately be his undoing, his writing would eventually be credited as a reluctant catalyst for the 1960's counterculture. He opened the door to that new decade and looking inside, decided it wasn't for him, and left it to others to trample through and stand on the shoulders of giants.

Only now in this fast moving computer age of blogs and Facebook, can people begin to relate to how fast his mind moved, and how the restrictions of the Typewriter even forced him to invent an almost computer-like "Scrolling" method of working, years ahead of what we now take for granted as we ourselves write. Jack would have been in his holy element with email and Blackberry’s.

And so as I set out once again, On the Road, on the eastern seaboard of the US, and raise another glass to Sir Jack of America from in one of his favorite bars, I leave you with the table he set down specifically about his Spontaneous Prose method, a list of thirty "essentials." which could just as easily be the mantra of Bloggers all over the world today:

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for your own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never to 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 dumb saint 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 tea head of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monologue
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

We honor Jack Kerouac, Sir Jack of America : Born 12th March 1922.

Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire

1 comment:

  1. Sir Dayvd,

    Thank you for this.
    I'm off to scribble Sir Jack's thirty suggestions in my Moleskine.

    May our paths and bar napkins cross paths someday.

    Sir Bowie of Greenbriar