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Essentials of
Spontaneous Prose

Read How can writer's employ Jack Kerouac's "Essentials of Spontaneous Prose" in their own writing?

by Jack Kerouac
  1.  SET-UP

    The object is set before the mind, either in reality. as in sketching (before a landscape or teacup or old face) or is set in the memory wherein it becomes the sketching from memory of a definite image-object.

  2.  PROCEDURE

    Time being of the essence in the purity of speech, sketching language is undisturbed flow from the mind of personal secret idea-words, blowing (as per jazz musician) on subject of image.

    Jack Kerouac
  3.  METHOD

    No periods separating sentence-structures already arbitrarily riddled by false colons and timid usually needless commas-but the vigorous space dash separating rhetorical breathing (as jazz musician drawing breath between outblown phrases)--"measured pauses which are the essentials of our speech"--"divisions of the sounds we hear"-"time and how to note it down." (William Carlos Williams)

  4.  SCOPING

    Not "selectivity' of expression but following free deviation (association) of mind into limitless blow-on-subject seas of thought, swimming in sea of English with no discipline other than rhythms of rhetorical exhalation and expostulated statement, like a fist coming down on a table with each complete utterance, bang! (the space dash)-Blow as deep as you want-write as deeply, fish as far down as you want, satisfy yourself first, then reader cannot fail to receive telepathic shock and meaning-excitement by same laws operating in his own human mind.

  5.  LAG IN PROCEDURE

    No pause to think of proper word but the infantile pileup of scatological buildup words till satisfaction is gained, which will turn out to be a great appending rhythm to a thought and be in accordance with Great Law of timing.

  6.  TIMING

    Nothing is muddy that runs in time and to laws of time-Shakespearian stress of dramatic need to speak now in own unalterable way or forever hold tongue-no revisions (except obvious rational mistakes, such as names or calculated insertions in act of not writing but inserting).

  7.  CENTER OF INTEREST

    Begin not from preconceived idea of what to say about image but from jewel center of interest in subject of image at moment of writing, and write outwards swimming in sea of language to peripheral release and exhaustion-Do not afterthink except for poetic or P. S. reasons. Never afterthink to "improve" or defray impressions, as, the best writing is always the most painful personal wrung-out tossed from cradle warm protective mind-tap from yourself the song of yourself, blow!-now!-your way is your only way-"good"-or "bad"-always honest ("ludi- crous"), spontaneous, "confessionals' interesting, because not "crafted." Craft is craft.

  8.  STRUCTURE OF WORK

    Modern bizarre structures (science fiction, etc.) arise from language being dead, "different" themes give illusion of "new" life. Follow roughly outlines in outfanning movement over subject, as river rock, so mindflow over jewel-center need (run your mind over it, once) arriving at pivot, where what was dim-formed "beginning" becomes sharp-necessitating "ending" and language shortens in race to wire of time-race of work, following laws of Deep Form, to conclusion, last words, last trickle-Night is The End.

  9.  MENTAL STATE

    If possible write "without consciousness" in semi-trance (as Yeats' later "trance writing") allowing subconscious to admit in own uninhibited interesting necessary and so "modern" language what conscious art would censor, and write excitedly, swiftly, with writing-or-typing-cramps, in accordance (as from center to periphery) with laws of orgasm, Reich's "beclouding of consciousness." Come from within, out-to relaxed and said.

    Jack Kerouac

How can writers employ Jack Kerouac's "Essentials of Spontaneous Prose" in their own writing

Jack Kerouac's concept of "spontaneous prose" is a writing technique that emphasizes the importance of letting the words flow freely and spontaneously, without stopping to edit or censor oneself. This approach allows writers to capture their thoughts and experiences in a raw and unedited form, and can be a powerful tool for unlocking creativity and spontaneity in their writing.


Jack Kerouac reads On The Road Audiobook with English subtitles

Writers can employ Kerouac's essentials of spontaneous prose in their own writing in a number of ways:

💡Write in a stream-of-consciousness style. One of the key elements of Kerouac's spontaneous prose is the idea of capturing thoughts and experiences in a raw, unedited form. Writers can use a stream-of-consciousness style, in which they let their thoughts and experiences flow freely onto the page without stopping to edit or censor themselves, to capture the spontaneity and authenticity of their experiences.

💡Use automatic writing as a way to access the unconscious mind. Kerouac's spontaneous prose involves letting the words flow freely and spontaneously, without stopping to think or censor oneself. One way to do this is to use automatic writing, in which the writer allows their hand to move freely across the page, writing whatever comes to mind without stopping to think or edit. This can be a powerful way to access the unconscious mind and uncover hidden thoughts and feelings.


Kerouac, Ginsberg and Gang in New York City

💡Experiment with different forms of free writing. Kerouac's spontaneous prose involves letting the words flow freely and spontaneously, and writers can experiment with different forms of free writing to unlock their creativity and spontaneity. For example, writers could try timed writing, in which they set a timer and write continuously for a set period of time without stopping to edit or censor themselves, or they could try writing without using punctuation, to create a more fluid and spontaneous flow of words.

Kerouac's concept of spontaneous prose can be a powerful tool for writers looking to unlock their creativity and spontaneity, and to capture their thoughts and experiences in a raw and authentic form. By letting the words flow freely and spontaneously, writers can create unique and authentic works that capture the essence of their experiences and emotions.