On the Written Page With Kerouac

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To The Moon – photo by Wild Thing

I have always found Jack Kerouac’s List on Belief and Technique for Modern Prose rather curiously a positive one for someone who seemed rather morose and given to bouts of chronic depression. That being said, I have found that much of what he says on this list has been a guiding light to how I approach my writing.

I think the one thing that is most important is to love life in general and be a student of it. To study and observe it; I find that it has enriched my life and therefore my writing. I agree whole-heartedly to never get drunk outside of your own home as well. Bad things happen when you do that! I could go on more in that direction, but think it’s best left at that.

But the most of his list that resonates in me are the ones that involve vision. Being an artist who uses paints, sketches, and now photography, I use my inner eye, my inner vision, to begin my writing. I “see” it before I write it. Sometimes, one of my photos brings up the writing, sometimes a chance phrase creates a vision in my mind, or sometimes just sitting and staring off into space creates a scene. When I read a prompt it is always a visual that is formed first. Even music is a visual thing for me. I see it when I listen to it whether it has lyrics or not.

The visionary part ties into the loving life and being a student of it. Because this allows you to see what was, is and could be. It becomes the “filler” for my vision. Standing at a motel window watching a man say goodnight to a woman in a car. I kept thinking about who they were, what were they to each other? I made up a whole story from this visual snapshot in my head of these 2 strangers that became a poem.

It’s probably why I will never write “the line writer’s dream of writing” because for me it’s not so much about the words as getting the visual down on paper for you to “see” what I am seeing in my mind … feeling as I’m seeing it. If I can do that, then I have achieved my goal.

Writing this, I have now had a visual and will try to share it.

In my corner
To share
My style
À la Kerouac

Stray thought
Wanders by
Pushed aside
I struggle
To explain

Boldly returning
It is insistent
Floods my mind

Nothing to do
I give in
You are too

Especially Annie

Wild Thing ©2016

Written for Prompt #2.3
Writing Rebelsm


6 thoughts on “On the Written Page With Kerouac

  1. Shelly … This is perfect! Joyce Carroll, my first writing teacher & mentor was adamant that we use words to show not tell … You have that lesson instinctively … You always show fro your heart!

  2. Good explanation of your methods and a nice followup poem, Shelly. I think you were always a poet, and maybe it just took Annie’s gentle persuasion to get it onto the page. 😉

    • Thank you Robert! Another treasured comment … I don’t know about always being a poet, but I have always longed to write … no doubt that Annie gave me wings! *getting another tissue*

      • She did the same for me. After seeing all the micropoetry (which my AutoDefect wants to change to something else) on Twitter, I DM’d her a short poem I’d written. She said, “It’s good! Post it.” I found a pic to go with it and did just that. Thus began my writing career…tho I’d had the thought before. I just made a lot of false starts, without showing them to anyone. She encouraged me through the next however many I showed her and offered suggestions when I started showing her longer pieces. Maybe a novel will come form one of my short stories. Who knows? My sister always said that everyone has a novel inside them. Still waiting to read hers tho. Whatever…no stopping us now, eh? ;-D

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