2009.01.03 windblown review:

Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954 Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954 by Jack Kerouac

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
It was always somewhat unclear, in the works dealing with Kerouac's life and methods, just how much he was beholden to classic literature and literary theory. The most famous story, of course, was always about the benzedrine, caffeine, and nicotine fueled three-day writing binge that resulted in "On The Road." And Kerouac himself, with his later works, and his articles and essays about writing, became a vocal proponent of "automatic" or "stream of consciousness" writing, further muddying the waters of his influences. In reading many of the biographies about Kerouac, we can get something of a feel for his abiding love of literature, and his almost reverent regard for certain writers who most inspired him.

In this book, a collection of journals–in whole and in part–taking the form of a mixture of working writing journals, and personal diary-type entries, his interests and desires are made clear.

Especially in regards to his first novel, Kerouac is keenly interested in creating a work of import and gravity, to be held among the works of his admired influences. He discusses the great efforts to maintain his momentum, and to edit and re-arrange his work. His fluctuating emotional connection to his own work sees him moving from the depths of despair that he will never be able to finish to his satisfaction, to the height of narcissistic belief that it will be a greater work than anything else in his time. This journal enlightens us to his struggles just to *be* a writer–which is a far cry from that image of Kerouac as the mindless typist cranking out words in a drug-fueled haze.

Later entries shine a light on his most famous novel "On The Road" that it rarely receives–showing "On The Road" as a careful work, which goes through several conceptual changes, not to mention numerous drafts.

Much of these journals are also notes from the journeys that actually appear in the finished novel, so we are able to see, in a way, how Kerouac captures his raw material.

These journals are a fantastic opportunity for Kerouac fans to get an internal glipmse at the reality behind the fiction we've come to love. For those who aren't fans, but who are interested in the act and art of writing–and of *creating*, in general–it is a window on the extraordinary struggles of a man attempting to leave his mark.

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