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Dear Jack,

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I know you're up there somewhere at your Big Sur in the Sky (hopefully), probably ignorant of all the buzz about the fiftieth anniversary of the publishing of On the Road, but I wanted you to know this: when I was fifteen years old I taped the following lines to the wall above my desk, and I meditated upon them sometimes when I was alone in my room much like you did, I suppose, with your Buddha-gods:

Belief and technique in modern prose
1) Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten papers, for yr own joy
2) Submissive to everything, open, listening
3) Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4) Be in love with yr life
5) Something that you feel will find its own form
6) Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7) Blow as deep as you want to blow
8) Write what you want bottemless from bottom of the mind
9)The unspeakable visions of the individual
10) No time for poetry but exactly what it is

and so on, until finally
29) You're a genius all the time 30) Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

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Number 29 I put under my senior yearbook picture. I felt good that you believed in me, Jack, and I believed in myself. I got A's in college English classes, just like you did at Columbia, and I almost never go through a day without writing, either in scribbled secret notebooks or public blogs. I suppose you got a little carried away with the whole stream-of-conciousness stuff (drugs and heavy alcohol use will do that), and you know you were only standing on the shoulders of very very tall giants (Joyce, Rimbaud, Hemingway), but On the Road has always been very special, and more importantly, it's always been special to writers.