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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some's Kerouacs, some's Ferlinghettis :: Writing tips from Kerouac


Some artists I know are like Jack Kerouac - creative but heavily dependent on other people to get their work made & out, and also have a healthy self-destructive streak in them.

Others, specially a lot of DIY indie filmmakers - are like Lawrence Ferlinghetti - a peer of Kerouac - but a much more stable type of artist who not only creates but also organizes (helps others create), and engages in business (Ferlinghetti opened San Francisco's now famous City Lights Bookstore & published works by fellow artists such as Allen Ginsberg).

Both kinds of artists are cool, but the Ferlinghetti kind probably lead longer, happier, more productive lives (to some those are important things).

The practicality of their two lives aside, I am a huge fan of Kerouac's On The Road & several other works (The Scripture of the Golden Eternity, Desolation Angel, etc.) - fun & useful things to read when thinking about writing a script or anything else for that matter - 'cause at his best Kerouac makes writing look fun & exciting. Here's Kerouac's list of thirty "essentials" for writing, with an intro (from the Wikipedia page):

"He [Kerouac] would go on for hours, often drunk, to friends and strangers about his method. Allen Ginsberg, initially unimpressed, would later be one of its great proponents, and indeed, he was apparently influenced by Kerouac's free flowing prose method of writing in the composition of his masterpiece "Howl". It was at about the time that Kerouac wrote The Subterraneans that he was approached by Ginsberg and others to formally explicate exactly how he wrote it, how he did Spontaneous Prose. Among the writings he set down specifically about his Spontaneous Prose method, the most concise would be Belief and Technique for Modern Prose, a list of thirty "essentials."

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for your own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never 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 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 yrself
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 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"

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