“Time being of the essence in the purity of speech, sketching language is undisturbed flow from the mind of personal secret idea-words, blowing (as per jazz musician) on subject of image.” In 1957, Jack Kerouac published “Essentials of Spontaneous Prose,” in response to a request from Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs to explain how he wrote The Subterraneans in three days. (via)
In 1952, Jack Kerouac was shopping On The Road to publishers and instead of just pitching the text, Kerouac also included his own sketched vision for the book’s cover.
Kerouac typed a note to potential publisher A.A. Wyn in the corner of his drawing explaining the concept:
Dear Mr. Wyn:
I submit this as my idea of an appealing commercial cover expressive of the book. The cover for “The Town and the City” was as dull as the title and the photo backflap. Wilbur Pippin’s photo of me is the perfect On the Road one … it will look like the face of the figure below.
An important letter from Jack Kerouac to Marlon Brando suggesting to Brando that he play the role of Dean in a proposed film of Kerouac’s book On The Road, the typescript letter, signed, [n.d. but circa late 1957], the letter beginning: I’m praying that you’ll buy ON THE ROAD and make a movie of it, Kerouac outlines how he envisages the film could be made: Don’t worry about the structure, I know to compress and re-arrange the plot a bit to give a perfectly acceptable movie-type structure: making it into one all-inclusive trip instead of the several voyages coast-to-coast in the book, one vast round trip from New York to Denver to Frisco to Mexico to New Orleans to New York again. I visualize the beautiful shots could be made with the camera on the front seat of the car showing the road (day and night) unwinding into the windshield, as Sal and Dean yak. I wanted you to play the part because Dean (as you know) is no dopey hotrodder but a real intelligent (in fact Jesuit) Irishman. You play Dean and I’ll play Sal (Warner Bros. mentioned I play Sal) and I’ll show you how Dean acts in real life…we can go visit him in Frisco, or have him come down to L.A. still a real frantic cat…, Kerouac expresses his aim in making the film All I want out of this is to able to establish myself and my Mother a trust fund for life, so I can really go around roaming around the world…to write what comes out of my head and free to feed my buddies when they’re hungry…, Kerouac discusses his forthcoming novel The Subterraneans and his thoughts on American cinema: what I wanta do is re-do the theater and the cinema in America, give it a spontaneous dash, remove pre-conceptions of “situation” and let people rave on as they do in real life…The French movies of the 30’s are still far superior to ours because the French really let their actors come on and the writers didn’t quibble with some preconceived notion of how intelligent the movie audience is…American theater & Cinema at present is an outmoded dinosaur that ain’t mutated along with the best in American Literature…, the letter ending Come on now Marlon, put up your dukes and write!,, signed in blue ink Jack Kerouac