I always thought it was interesting that Jack Kerouac wrote in his personal journals with the incredible dedication that he did. I’m sure a lot of writers do that– but Windblown World, the collection of his journal entries from 1947-1954 (right up until the publication of On The Road) is the only one that I have read.
It’s amazing to think that someone so famous for his maniacal streaks of lengthy writing would set time aside to write even more, but this time about his thoughts, feelings, aspirations, successes, and failures but that is indeed exactly what he did. The thing that I love about Windblown World, aside from the fact that it humanizes a revered and nearly-mythical person like Kerouac, is that he is so forthright about what was (at the time) a very real possibility that he would fail miserably at becoming a published and widely read writer.
He’s forthright because these were his personal journals, and I assume he wasn’t thinking that they would hold any value to anyone else. But they do– he didn’t know it at the time, but they hold so much value to people like me.
We know how Kerouac’s art was received once On The Road was published, and that’s the framing that makes these journal entries so powerful. He was convinced that he was going to fail. He second-guessed his decision to become a writer rather than a salesman or a factory worker almost constantly.
On days when I’m convinced that I’ve made a grave mistake in my field of choice– on days when failure seems so imminent that I should adopt it as my middle name– I think about Windblown World… And I push on for another day.
time: 10:19 am
date: Thursday, May 15th
place: hotel room, Grapevine, TX
300//\\365//\\300 is a writing exercise– 300 entries over 365 days, each no longer than 300 words (I’m not so hot at sticking to the last part).