It’s Not the Words that Count

Cover of "On The Road"

Cover of On The Road

“It’s not the words that count but the rush of truth which uses words for its purposes; as a virtuoso performing on his instrument may use any combination of the notes within a beat (the word) but it is the melody of the bar that matters. It’s not the design, but the picture; not the curve, but the form.”

Jack Kerouac, journals 1949

This quote was from the time when he was struggling to find a way to tell On The Road that fits with the immediacy of the story. He was looking for a way to write that could communicate his passion about the world and the people. He had just finished his first novel. He was in the middle of the final revisions and trying to accommodate his editors and keep his feeling of control. He wanted to find a way to write that needed no revision. He was trying to live and write and put his life into writing in a way that described his spiritual connection with the world. He probably came as close as anyone ever did to doing this. His writing in On The Road has a fresh and naive style that gives the feeling of true story told breathlessly, intimately.  He worked hard to develop a style that made him seem like a child. The words seem to come out without a plan without sophistication. He worked hard to show his innocent love for life. He did not worry very much about being judged, only to be successful as a writer, and to do this he knew he had to tell his stories in a way that denies his work ethic as a writer.

This entry was posted in Other peoples words, Telling Stories, thinking in words and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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