Essential Kerouac: Birthday Edition

It’s Jack Kerouac’s 93rd birthday. Let’s celebrate by returning to the thirty numbered “essentials” in his “Belief & Technique for Modern Prose,” subtitled “List of Essentials.” Here are four to ponder:

4. Be in love with yr life

Being in love with your own life means it’s new and fresh and alluring; it’s full of surprises. You want to take your life out for an expensive dinner and wind up in bed with it that night. Wow!—as Sal Paradise would say—that’s a great life.

19. Accept loss forever

Only Kerouac the Catholic Buddhist could come up with this. What does it mean? Tonight, when you’re out on a hot date with yr life, whisper this line across your wine glass and see where the conversation goes.

27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness

The snows of February brought this one home to me. After we came out of our caves and shoveled paths to the road, I looked with amazement at friends and strangers alike. How animated their smiles, how bright their eyes! I hardly listened to what anyone had to say, I was so struck by the beauty of each human face.

29. You’re a Genius all the time

How did Kerouac know that about you and me? He just did. Thanks, Jack! And happy birthday to you, out there, up there, down there, in the hearts of all who love you.

2 thoughts on “Essential Kerouac: Birthday Edition

  1. Please give us more Kerouac. And more of your own ideas as well. This is a person who understood our times and the pain of loss in a world of plenty.

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