Jack Kerouac’s List of Essentials

Jack KerouacMerlin over at 43 Folders has a post about a wonderful site for writers called Language Is A Virus. It’s easy to get caught up in all the great mind-bending (and mind-freeing) techniques awaiting unwary visitors in almost every corner of the site.

One of the things Merlin links to specifically is a list of Jack Kerouac’s Belief and Technique for Modern Prose. I started falling in love with Kerouac’s books back in the last year of high school, and it was about this time that my writing really took off. I found this particular list in a book about the Beat Generation, lingering in a stack of library discards (the content was deemed “unsuitable”), and it spoke to me immediately and with such a voice as I’ve never heard. This single page has been my chief source of inspiration for creative writing for a long time, and I have carried around a tattered type-written copy of it now for 18 years.

I’m glad to see it revived for the digital age, when Kerouac’s work might be deemed “suitable” once more.