by Jack Kerouac
Big Sur Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Long nights simply thinking about the usefulness of that little wire scourer, those little yellow copper things you buy in supermarkets for 10 cents, all to me infinitely more interesting than the stupid and senseless "Steppenwolf" novel in the shack which I read with a shrug, this old fart reflecting the "conformity" of today and all the while he thought he was a big Nietzsche, old imitator of Dostoevsky fifty years too late (he feels tormented in a "personal hell" he calls it because he doesnt like what other people like! ) -- Better at noon to watch the orange and black Princeton colors on the wings of a butterfly -- Best to go hear the sound of the sea at night on the shore. (7.1)
Big Sur touches on the inability of literature to accurately reflect reality. Nowhere is this rift more apparent to Jack then out in Monsanto's cabin, where the natural world is larger and grander than life.
And as far as I can see the world is too old for us to talk about it with our new words -- We will pass just as quietly through life (passing through, passing through) as the 10th century people of this valley only with a little more noise and a few bridges and dams and bombs that wont even last a million years -- The world being just what it is, moving and passing through. (7.5)
Much of Big Sur has to do with Jack looking for a purpose, or meaning for his life. It's possible, then, that writing the novel at all has to do with leaving some mark on the world, and getting around the curse of transience he discusses here in this passage.
And the sadness of it all is that the world hasn't any chance to produce say a writer whose life could really actually touch all this life in every detail like you always say, some writers could bring you sobbing thru the bed fuckin bedcribs of the moon to see it all even unto the goddamned last gory detail of some dismal robbery of the heart at dawn. (12.3)
Is this what Jack aspires to in his writing? What makes it so impossible?