Saturday, March 21, 2009

Belief and Technique for Modern Prose

Jack Kerouac is a writer I got to know of through various blogs. I came across his name on the profiles of many bloggers and finally bought myself a copy of On the Road. I am half way through the book, but for some reason, it is not the kind I finish reading in one go (like Persepolis or Broken April)...

I wouldn't quite keep On the Road in my list of favourites, for the escapades seem too random and directionless. Yes, the writing is racy — and my reserve may be simply because of a totally different culture — the 'beat generation' that I can't quite readily digest.

Nevertheless, I found these 30 points listed by him very interesting:

Belief and Technique for Modern Prose, a list of thirty "essentials."

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for your own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside your own house
4. Be in love with your life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yrself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Don't think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You're a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


For more than three years now, I have been away from home during all the major festivals. I sorely miss the festivities in Ahmedabad, especially Navratri and Uttrayan. Diwali, which always used to be a quiet, foodie affair, doesn't even make its presence felt here in Kolkata. There, we had a good 20 day holiday in school and college, here it's only one day of Kali Puja.

On my way back home just now, I passed by holi pyres at almost all the crossroads. Most fires were dying down, one or two were still ablaze. I remembered the story of Prahlad and how he embraced the Holika chanting the name of God. How the ant changed to God himself and saved him.

We used to offer raw green mangoes in the flames, also coconuts and dhaani (popcorn) after the usual pradakshina. "Don't eat the mangoes before Holi, you will catch your throat," warned Indiraben everytime. And then, when the flames died out, I remember scouting for roasted coconuts with other kids once. I don't have very pleasant memories of the mad colour play, except for the very first time in our new colony. I must have been seven or eight then. But it's the evening fire a day before dhuleti that has always been very special.

Those dying fires in the middle of the night made me want to rush back home and listen from aaji the stories of victory of good over evil and all such things.