“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”


Jack Kerouac

<On the Road>






I am pretty sure jack kerouac was a certifiable loon (but not a British type loon).



He was most certainly an alcoholic.  Probably suffered from depression.  And was a very bitter guy.

And I find almost everything he wrote unreadable <except this quote … which is awesome>.



Some critics called his writing style poor stream of conscious typewriting (I do know Truman Capote wasn’t a huge fan of his writing style and actually said about Kerouac’s writing  … “That’s not writing, it’s typing.”)


I know I call most of his writing “diary of a free wheelin’ guy’s life”.



Maybe we could just think of it maybe as a 50s version of MTV’s Road Rules.





The guy was a quotable machine. And the quote I began this post with is maybe his best.



Think about it.



“The only people for me are the mad ones …”.






People who burn burn burn.  Desirous of everything at the same time.



Think about that.


We meet so few of these people in our lifetimes.


And the ones you meet scare you.


fire hands flames

Fascinate you.



Awe you.



Puzzle you.



Confuse you.



Inspire you.



But in the end they dare you.



Dare you to burn.



Burn without flaming out.  Just burn.



These people set the standard for life.



They aren’t immature but infectiously young at their soul.



They aren’t undisciplined yet rules mean nothing to them.



They aren’t cocky yet have the ultimate confidence … to speak in silence … stand when others sit … stay when others go … go where others fear to step … step forward when others stand still … stand still when others stand back … be mad to live yet mad to be saved.




These people burn.





And we cannot all be like them.  In fact most of us will never even come close to being mad for anything or even come close to burning.



Is that bad?

For some … no.


Burning is dangerous. And unwieldy.  And difficult to control.



For others?


Their fear of a life of burning will drive them mad.  Not mad to live. But a madness of wasted opportunities. A madness of regrets.  A madness of never desiring everything at the same time for fear of ending with nothing.






“To explode like spiders across the stars.”  In my mind one would have to be mad not to desire that.





So topping that quote and that thought is tough.



So I won’t try.


I will simply use another Kerouac sound bite that takes that first quote to the next level of the same thought.



“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.”

Jack Kerouac



So to burn in life maybe takes this belief.

A belief that you can do anything you want.



That every day is a vast empty page.  And that Life is there for you to fill the pages with anything you want.



There is not much more to say then that after reading that quote.



To end this post I will use a Kerouac life quote. Just one last quote pulled from thousands of hours of incessant ramblings often drunk with friends and strangers.


“Maybe that’s what life is…a wink of the eye and winking stars.”

jack kerouac




This may be one of the most reasonable and most poetic quotes you may find from that wackjob. From anyone for that matter. And it is an awesome thought. An incredible thought.



Think about him and think about this quote.



Even through the bitterness.  And the depression.  And the madness. He recognized that life had a little wink in its eye.  Maybe that is what Jack Kerouac saw through the haze of bitterness and alcohol and depression.





Hope for a wink from a star.



And maybe that is what all of us want.

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Written by Bruce