mad in pursuit journal


Gunning the Creative Engine

Potato FlowerI drew this picture. Start with the crossroads at the center. Add grade-school leaves, a lotus flower, roots growing potatoes. Kind of a self-portrait.

The original was a gel pen doodle, but of course I worked it over. Scanned it into Photoshop. Traced it in Illustrator with deliberate imperfection. Spontaneity is not one of my gifts.

The literary world is celebrating the 50th anniverary of the publication of "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac. Viking is celebrating by publishing Kerouac's first draft: "On the Road: the Original Scroll." In 1951, in three weeks, on a coffee high, Kerouac pounded out this draft on a single 120-foot roll of paper -- large sheets of tracing paper cut and taped to fit his typewriter. Now that's the kind of creative energy I'd like to harness!

Kerouac said: "the only people that interest me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing -- but burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night."

The New York Times book reviewer Luc Sante says that Kerouac's spontaneous creative combustions "also stands alongside the image of Jackson Pollock... dripping and flinging and flecking paint on a horizontal canvas, fighting and dancing his work into being."

It's too bad these geniuses both died at a young age due to complications of alcoholism. Perhaps they too struggled to keep up with their own reputations.



Thumbs Up if you liked this entry.


Previous Kerouac entry: 3/27/07