Jack Kerouac was a free thinker, visionary, philosopher, rebel, co-founder of the beat generation with an insatiable wanderlust and perpetual love for the unknown and adventure. He lived, and like many of us today, questioned life, questioned his existence. His life was a series of passion and ecstasy and searching. Even though it’s been almost 50 years since his passing, young adults can relate to his “madness” now more than ever.
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.
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
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.
Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.
The only truth is music.
There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.
Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.
My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.
What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.
A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world.
Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream.
Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.
Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk — real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.
The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view.
Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.
I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t make any difference.
I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless emptiness.
I was surprised, as always, be how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.
I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.
Will you love me in December as you do in May?
It all ends in tears anyway.
I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.
What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?
My whole wretched life swam before my weary eyes, and I realized no matter what you do it’s bound to be a waste of time in the end so you might as well go mad.
I’m going to marry my novels and have little short stories for children.
Life must be rich and full of loving–it’s no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone.
It always makes me proud to love the world somehow- hate’s so easy compared.
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.
Houses are full of things that gather dust.
And the story of love is a long sad tale ending in graves.
Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.
I’m writing this book because we’re all going to die.
I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.
On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars – Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another word.
Finding Nirvana is like locating silence.
They have worries, they’re counting the miles, they’re thinking about where to sleep tonight, how much money for gas, the weather, how they’ll get there – and all the time they’ll get there anyway, you see.
‘Sal, we gotta go and never stop going ’till we get there.’
‘Where we going, man?’
‘I don’t know but we gotta go.
We turned at a dozen paces, for love is a duel, and looked at each other for the last time.
Offer them what they secretly want and they of course immediately become panic-stricken.
A sociable smile is nothing but a mouth full of teeth.
Things are so hard to figure out when you live from day to day in this feverish and silly world.
One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls.
As far as I’m concerned the only thing to do is sit in a room and get drunk.
The page is long, blank, and full of truth. When I am through with it, it shall probably be long, full, and empty with words.
I feel guilty for being a member of the human race.
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…
So therefore I dedicate myself, to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my suffrances, my loneliness, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.
Maybe that’s what life is… a wink of the eye and winking stars.
Are we fallen angels who didn’t want to believe that nothing is nothing and so were born to lose our loved ones and dear friends one by one and finally our own life, to see it proved?
Pain or love or danger makes you real again…
‘What do you want out of life?’ I asked, and I used to ask that all the time of girls.
‘I don’t know,’ she said. ‘Just wait on tables and try to get along.’ She yawned. I put my hand over her mouth and told her not to yawn. I tried to tell her how excited I was about life and the things we could do together; saying that, and planning to leave Denver in two days. She turned away wearily. We lay on our backs, looking at the ceiling and wondering what God had wrought when He made life so sad.
My aunt once said that the world would never find peace until men fell at their women’s feet and asked for forgiveness.
If critics say your work stinks it’s because they want it to stink and they can make it stink by scaring you into conformity with their comfortable little standards. Standards so low that they can no longer be considered “dangerous” but set in place in their compartmental understandings.
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.
The road is life.
The closer you get to real matter, rock air fire and wood, boy, the more spiritual the world is.
If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.
Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.
All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.
I believed in a good home, in sane and sound living, in good food, good times, work, faith and hope. I have always believed in these things. It was with some amazement that I realized I was one of the few people in the world who really believed in these things without going around making a dull middle class philosophy out of it. I was suddenly left with nothing in my hands but a handful of crazy stars.
It’ll take you eternities to get rid of me,’ she adds sadly, which makes me jealous, I want her to say I’ll never get rid of her – I want to be chased till eternity till I catch her.
There are worse things than being mad.
I promise I shall never give up, and that I’ll die yelling and laughing, and that until then I’ll rush around this world I insist is holy and pull at everyone’s lapel and make them confess to me and to all.
All he needed was a wheel in his hand and four on the road.
Forgive everyone for your own sins and be sure to tell them you love them which you do.
Let nature do the freezing and frightening and isolating in this world. Let men work and love and fight it off.
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.
My eyes were glued on life and they were full of tears.
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.
Roaring dreams take place in a perfectly silent mind. Now that we know this, throw the raft away.
For the first time in my life the weather was not something that touched me, that caressed me, froze or sweated me, but became me.
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. But who wants to die?
The details are the life of it, I insist, say everything on your mind, don’t hold back, don’t analyze or anything as you go along, say it out.
…we all must admit that everything is fine and there’s no need in the world to worry, and in fact we should realize what it would mean to us to UNDERSTAND that we’re not REALLY worried about ANYTHING.
You’d be surprised how little I knew even up to yesterday.
Ah, it was a fine night, a warm night, a wine-drinking night, a moony night, and a night to hug your girl and talk and spit and be heavengoing.
When you’ve understood this scripture, throw it away. If you can’t understand this scripture, throw it away. I insist on your freedom.
Colleges being nothing but grooming schools for the middle-class 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 to hear the voice crying in the wilderness, to find the ecstasy of the stars, to find the dark mysterious secret of the origin of faceless wonderless crapulous civilization.
Let the mind beware, that though the flesh be bugged, the circumstances of existence are pretty glorious.
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.
The empty blue sky of space says ‘All this comes back to me, then goes again, and comes back again, then goes again, and I don’t care, it still belongs to me.
Better to sleep in an uncomfortable bed free, than sleep in a comfortable bed unfree.
The beauty of things must be that they end.
If you own a rug you own too much.
‘I just won’t sleep,’ I decided. There were so many other interesting things to do.