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jack kerouac Quotes

Jack Kerouac Quotes

Birth Date: 1922-03-12 (Sunday, March 12th, 1922)
Date of Death: 1969-10-21 (Tuesday, October 21st, 1969)



    • Maybe that's what life is... a wink of the eye and winking stars.
    • 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.
    • I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life but that great consciousness of life.
    • Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
    • Accept loss forever
    • Believe in the holy contour of life
    • We should be wondering tonight, 'Is there a world?' But I could go and talk on 5, 10, 20 minutes about is there a world, because there is really no world, cause sometimes I'm walkin' on the ground and I see right through the ground. And there is no world. And you'll find out.
    • Who knows, but that the universe is not one vast sea of compassion actually, the veritable holy honey, beneath all this show of personality and cruelty?
    • John Clellon Holmes ... and I were sitting around trying to think up the meaning of the Lost Generation and the subsequent Existentialism and I said, 'You know, this is really a beat generation' and he leapt up and said 'That's it, that's right!'
    • I went one afternoon to the church of my childhood and had a vision of what I must have really meant with 'Beat'... the vision of the word Beat as being to mean beatific... People began to call themselves beatniks, beats, jazzniks, bopniks, bugniks and finally I was called the 'avatar' of all this.
    • Members of the generation that came of age after World War II-Korean War who join in a relaxation of social and sexual tensions, and who espouse anti-regimentation, mystic-disaffiliation, and material-simplicity values, supposedly as a result of cold-war disillusionment. Coined by Jack Kerouac.
    • It is not my fault that certain so-called bohemian elements have found in my writings something to hang their peculiar beatnik theories on.
    • All is well, practice kindness, heaven is nigh.
    • My manners, abominable at times, can be sweet. As I grew older I became a drunk. Why? Because I like ecstasy of the mind. I'm a wretch. But I love, love.
    • You can't fight City Hall. It keeps changing its name.
    • All our best men are laughed at in this nightmare land.
    • As early pioneers in the knowing, that when you lose your reason, you attain highest perfect knowing.
    • So long and take it easy, because if you start taking things seriously, it is the end of you.
    • All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.
    • The tree looks like a dog, barking at heaven.
    • He saw that all the struggles of life were incessant, laborious, painful, that nothing was done quickly, without labor, that it had to undergo a thousand fondlings, revisings, moldings, addings, removings, graftings, tearings, correctings, smoothings, rebuildings, reconsiderings, nailings, tackings, chippings, hammerings, hoistings, connectings - all the poor fumbling uncertain incompletions of human endeavor. They went on forever and were forever incomplete, far from perfect, refined, or smooth, full of terrible memories of failure and fears of failure, yet, in the way of things, somehow noble, complete, and shining in the end. This he could sense even from the old house they lived in, with its solidly built walls and floors that held together like rock: some man, possibly an angry pessimistic man, had built the house long ago, but the house stood, and his anger and pessimism and irritable labourious sweats were forgotten; the house stood, and other men lived in it and were sheltered well in it.
    • 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!'
    • Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The car was swaying as Dean and I both swayed to the rhythm and the IT of our final excited joy in talking and living to the blank tranced end of all innumerable riotous angelic particulars that had been lurking in our souls all our lives.
    • What difference does it make after all? - anonymity in the world of men is better than fame in heaven, for what's heaven? what's earth? All in the mind.
    • So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty, I think of Dean Moriarty.
    • 'Now you understand the Oriental passion for tea,' said Japhy. 'Remember that book I told you about; the first sip is joy, the second is gladness, the third is serenity, the fourth is madness, the fifth is ecstasy.'
    • Pretty girls make graves.
    • Colleges being nothing but grooming schools for the middleclass non-identity which usually finds its perfect expression on the outskirts of the campus in rows of well-to-do houses with lawns and television sets in each living room with everybody looking at the same thing and thinking the same thing at the same time while the Japhies of the world go prowling in the wilderness...
    • 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. Ecstacy, even, I felt, with flashes of sudden remembrance, and feeling sweaty and drowsy I felt like sleeping and dreaming in the grass.
    • Sociability is just a big smile, and a big smile is nothing but teeth.
    • I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.
    • Trouble with you is you don't do plenty night zazen especially when it's cold out, that's best, besides you should get married and have halfbreed babies, manuscripts, homespun blankets and mother's milk on your happy ragged mat floor like this one. Get yourself a hut house not too far from town, live cheap, go ball in the bars once in awhile, write and rumble in the hills and learn how to saw boards and talk to grandmas you damn fool, carry loads of wood for them, clap your hands at shrines, get supernatural favors, take flower-arrangement lessons and grow chrysanthemums by the door, and get married for krissakes, get a friendly smart sensitive human-being gal who don't give a shit for martinis every night and all that dumb white shit in the kitchen.
    • If you have ice cream I will give you some. If you have no ice cream I will take it away from you. (It is an ice cream koan [cone].)
    • No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength. Learning for instance, to eat when he's hungry and sleep when he's sleepy.
    • Ah, life is a gate, a way, a path to Paradise anyway, why not live for fun and joy and love or some sort of girl by a fireside, why not go to your desire and LAUGH...
    • Everything is the same, the fog says 'We are fog and we fly by dissolving like ephemera,' and the leaves say 'We are leaves and we jiggle in the wind, that's all, we come and go, grow and fall' - Even the paper bags in my garbage pit say 'We are mantransformed paper bags made out of wood pulp, we are kinda proud of being paper bags as long as that will be possible, but we'll be mush again with our sisters the leaves come rainy season' - The tree stumps say 'We are tree stumps torn out of the ground by men, sometimes by the wind, we have big tendrils full of earth that drink out of the earth' - Men say 'We are men, we pull out tree stumps, we make paper bags, we think wise thoughts, we make lunch, we look around, we make a great effort to realise everything is the same.'
    • I feel guilty for being a member of the human race.
    • 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.
    • But O Sarina come with me to my bed of woes, let me love you gently in the night, long time, we got all night, till dawn, till Juliet's rising sun and Romeo's vial sink, till I have slaked my thirst of Samsara at your portal rosy petal lips and left saviour juice in your rosy flesh garden to melt and dry and ululate another baby for the void, come sweet Sarina in my naughty arms, be dirty in my clean milk, and I'll detest the defecate I leave in your milky empowered cyst-and-vulva chamber, your cloacan clara file-hool through which slowly drool the hall-gyzm, to castles in your hassel flesh and I'll protect you trembling thighs against my heart and kiss your lips and cheeks and Lair and love you everywhere and that'll be that...
    • I could give you a list a mile long of the homosexuals in the arts but there's no point in making a big tzimis about a relatively harmless and cool state of affairs - Each man to his own tastes.
    • Everything is going to the beat - It's the beat generation, it be-at, it's the beat to keep, it's the beat of the heart, it's being beat and down in the world and like oldtime lowdown and like in ancient civilizations the slave boatmen rowing galleys to a beat and servants spinning pottery to a beat...
    • There's your Karma ripe as peaches.
    • It no longer makes me cry and die and tear myself to see her go because everything goes away from me like that now - girls, visions, anything, just in the same way and forever and I accept lostness forever.
    • I'm writing this book because we're all going to die - In the loneliness of my life, my father dead, my brother dead, my mother far away, my sister and my wife far away, nothing here but my own tragic hands that once were guarded by a world, a sweet attention, that now are left to guide and disappear their own way into the common dark of all our death, sleeping in me raw bed, alone and stupid...
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Literature is no longer Necessary Teaching is left.
    • Mankind is like dogs, not gods - as long as you don't get mad they'll bite you - but stay mad and you'll never be bitten. Dogs don't respect humility and sorrow.
    • My witness is the empty sky.
    • Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.
    • If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.
    • Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them; disagree with them; glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
    • I consider On The Road sort of holy because it helped change my life as it did to so many others and as it continues to do so. Jack wanted his papers enshrined in a library but they are now in the hands of highly non-literary people more interested in their monetary value than in their literary or cultural value.
    • Caringosity killed the Kerouac cat.
    • I read On the Road in maybe 1959. It changed my life like it changed everyone else's.
    • Someone handed me Mexico City Blues in St. Paul [Minnesota] in 1959 and it blew my mind. It was the first poetry that spoke my own language.
    • Some times feeling like Holden Caulfield, sometimes Jack Kerouac
    • Once when Kerouac was high on psychedelics with Timothy Leary, he looked out the window and said, 'Walking on water wasn't built in a day.' Our goal was to save the planet and alter human consciousness. That will take a long time, if it happens at all.
    • You don't know what I'm all about Like killing cops and reading Kerouac
    • If you're working with words, it's got to be poetry. I grew up with Kerouac. If he hadn't wrote On The Road, the Doors would have never existed. Morrison read On The Road down in Florida, and I read it in Chicago. That sense of freedom, spirituality, and intellectuality in On The Road - that's what I wanted in my own work.
    • The world that [Kerouac] trembling stepped out into in that decade was a bitter, gray one.
    • Kerouac was 'locked in the Cold War and the first Asian debacle' in 'the gray, chill, militaristic silence, [...] the intellective void [...] the spiritual drabness.
    • Kerouac opened a million coffee bars and sold a million pairs of Levis to both sexes. Woodstock rises from his pages.
    • That's not writing, it's typing.
    • We will write a postcard To our friends and family In free verse On the road with Kerouac Sheltered in his Bivouac On this road we'll never die...
    • jack kerouac

Quotes by Famous People

Who Were Also Born On March 12thWho Also Died On October 21st
Dave Eggers
Peter Levi
Jack Kerouac
Irving Layton
George Mason
Vaslav Nijinsky
Richard Steele
John Aubrey
Elliott Smith
Anastas Mikoyan
Jack Kerouac
Samuel Foote
Edmund Waller

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