by Jack Kerouac
Big Sur Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
The night ending with everybody passing out exhausted on cots, in sleepingbags outside (McLear goes home with wife) but Arthur Ma and I by the late fire keep up yelling spontaneous questions and answers right till dawn like "Who told you you had a hat on your head? " -- "My head never questions hats" -- "What's the matter with your liver training? " -- 'My liver training got involved in kidney work" (19.4)
Jack has already established that words are a poor reflection of the mind. This sort of free association might be the closest he gets to expressing the mind and spirit.
Our radio plays rhythm and blues as we pass the joint back and forth in jutjawed silence both looking ahead with big private thoughts now so vast we cant communicate them any more and if we tried it would take a million years and a billion books. (25.3)
In their close friendship, Jack and Cody don't need words. Their ability to communicate goes beyond the spoken word.
Mighty genius of the mind Cody whom I announce as the greatest writer the world will ever know if he ever gets down to writing. […] Besides I can see from glancing at him that becoming a writer holds no interest for him because life is so holy for him there's no need to do anything but live it, writing's just an afterthought or a scratch anyway at the surface -- But if he could! if he would! (25.3)
This passage illustrates more squandered potential. Much of the sadness of Big Sur comes from this sort of "could, would" wishful thinking.