- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Reading, Writing

Jack Kerouac on Writing, Life, Death, Loss, and More.

 

Happy birthday, Jack Kerouac! Here are some quotes from his writing:

 

“Write in recollection and amazement for yourself.”

 

“Listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world.”

 

“[W]hy not go to your desire and LAUGH…”

 

“Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?”

 

“I feel guilty for being a member of the human race.”

 

“I’m writing this book because we’re all going to die.”

 

“Madroad driving men ahead. The mad road, lonely, leading around the bend into the openings of space towards the horizon Wasatch snows promised us in the vision of the West, spine heights at the world’s end, coast of blue Pacific starry night—nobone halfbanana moons sloping in the tangled night sky, the torments of great formations in mist, the huddled invisible insect in the car racing onwards, illuminate. —The raw cut, the drag, the butte, the star, the draw, the sunflower in the grass—orangebutted west lands of Arcadia, forlorn sands of the isolate earth, dewy exposures to infinity in black space, home of the rattlesnake and the gopher the level of the world, low and flat: the charging restless mute unvoiced road keening in a seizure of tarpaulin power into the route.”

 

“All of life is a foreign country.”

 

“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.”

 

“Accept loss forever.”

 

“Believe in the holy contour of life.”

 

“Be in love with your life every detail of it.”

 

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.”

 

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”

 

“I am going to marry my novels and have little short stories for children.”

 

“Sociability is just a big smile, and a big smile is nothing but teeth.”

 

“They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!'”

 

“All our best men are laughed at in this nightmare land.”

 

“The one thing that we yearn for in our living days, that makes us sigh and groan and undergo sweet nauseas of all kinds, is the remembrance of some lost bliss that was probably experienced in the womb and can only be reproduced (though we hate to admit it) in death.”

 

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing?—it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

 

“I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling. Ecstasy, even, I felt, with flashes of sudden remembrance, and feeling sweaty and drowsy I felt like sleeping and dreaming in the grass.”

 

“One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls.”

 

“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”

 

“My witness is the empty sky.”

 

“Soon I’ll find the right words, they’ll be very simple.”

 

“A man who allows wild passion to arise within, himself burns his heart, then after burning adds the wind that thereto which ignites the fire again, or not, as the case may be.”

 

“Forgive everyone for your own sins and be sure to tell them you love them which you do.”

 

“And I will die, and you will die, and we all will die, and even the stars will fade out one after another in time.”

 

“So long and take it easy, because if you start taking things seriously, it is the end of you.”

 

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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