Lightning, the Lightning Bug, and the Price of Some of Kerouac’s Revisions

**Be forewarned, adult language/content** Mark Twain once said something like (I don't have the direct quote in front of me): "the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." Agree or disagree, Twain has a point. To illustrate, I give you two passages from On the Road... Continue Reading →

Charactouac? or Kerouacter?

“New Criticism locates meaning in the internal qualities of literary works, specifically the unity of their multiple verbal structures. as much as it values unity and convergence, New Criticism eschews authorial intent and historical context as bases for interpretation, although it allows that they might supplement understanding.” ~Joshua Kupetz, “The Straight Line Will Take You... Continue Reading →

The Scroll

Once upon a time there was young man named Jack who wrote a novel on a long scroll - one hundred feet long - no punctuation - no paragraph breaks - no rules - hopped up on bennies. After spending seven years on the roads across America, and occasionally down to Mexico - after typing... Continue Reading →

The Great American Novel and Jack Kerouac

The Great American Novel. Books as varied as Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and, more recently, Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom have all been considered for the title of Great American... Continue Reading →

Writing to a Soundtrack

My proclaimed 'protégé', Oliver, likes to put the “song of influence” (my term, not his) underneath the title of the short story or novel chapter that was inspired by the tune. He has received much feedback on this, ranging from: “don’t do that” to “I can see how that fits.” He is not the first... Continue Reading →

The Road Trip Story: Kerouac is Not a Beginner

On the Road is a road trip story.(Any objections?)I'm sure the influence of this experimental novel, with its meandering structure, has been the bane of many a writing teacher's existance. I'm basing this assumption on the fact that my writing teacher, David Keplinger, took the time during a class to discuss road trip stories and the dangers of... Continue Reading →

Lightning, the Lightning Bug, and the Price of Some of Kerouac’s Revisions

**Be forewarned, adult language/content**Mark Twain once said something like (I don't have the direct quote in front of me): "the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."Agree or disagree, Twain has a point. To illustrate, I give you two passages from On the Road -- the... Continue Reading →

Kerouac, The Lotus Eaters, and Star Trek

Many academic articles have been written on Kerouac and the sense of place and time evoked in On the Road. I’m sure a great part of that reason is that place and time are very integral to the format of the book – so it makes a lot of sense. Even I noticed that place... Continue Reading →

Adding Gravitas: Kerouac’s Word Choices

“Gravitas” is one of my husband’s million dollar words when he’s offering a critique. It’s a tricky word to digest when it’s thrown at you like: “This needs more gravitas.” He’s much more eloquent but, I mean, what can you do with that?Generally I take it to mean that the stakes aren’t sufficiently high for... Continue Reading →

Thursday Reviews! On the Road by Jack Kerouac (A Mentor Review!)

On the Road by Jack KerouacMy rating: 4 of 5 starsHaving been on many, many, many road trips with my military family -- I have to say that some of this story can be tedious. After all, spend enough time on the road, and you get dizzy with the monotony of the landscape. While there... Continue Reading →

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