Thursday, November 23, 2006

Writer's Corner: Jack Kerouac

"Write what you want bottomless from bottom of mind"

One of my guilty literary pleasures has always been the beat era of the 50's. This weeks starts a several week Writer's Corner feature on the men, women and musicians of the beat generation.

Jack Kerouac, born in Lowell, MA 1922, is the most well-known of the beats, but in my opinion, not the most accomplished. He wrote in a free flowing style he called "Breath", and he let his ideas connect directly with page. This form of writing fit well with the music of the time, bebop, and was most often connected to Charlie Parker and Bud Powell. Kerouac did not like to edit his thoughts or use conventional punctuation. Also called "Spontaneous Prose", Kerouac outlined his method in "Belief and Technique for Modern Prose".

While attending Columbia University on a football scholarship, he met many of the other writers that would become know as the beat generation. He dropped out his sophomore year and joined the merchant marines. This began his journey "on the road". During his life he explored many religions, most notably Buddhism, but remained Catholic to the end. He died in 1969 at the the age of 47.

"I want to work in revelations, not just spin silly tales for money. I want to fish as deep down as possible into my own subconscious in the belief that once that far down, everyone will understand because they are the same that far down." : Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac - October in the Railroad Earth
Charlie Parker & Miles Davis - Charlie's Wig