Some notes from Jack Kerouac’s essay “Are Writers Born or Made?”

JANUAR E. YAP

jack(Writer’s Digest: January 1962)

“I always get a laugh to hear Broadway wise-guys talk about “talent” and “genius.” Some perfect virtuoso who can interpret Brahms on the violin is called a “genius,” but the genius, the originating force, really belongs to Brahms; the violin virtuoso is simply a talented interpreter—in other words, a ‘talent.’”

“Or you’ll hear people say that so-and-so is a “major writer” because of his “large talent.” There can be no major writer without original genius. Artists of genius, like Jackson Pollock, have painted things that have never been seen before.”

“Some geniuses come with heavy feet and march solemnly forward like Drieser, yet no one ever wrote about that America of his as well as he. Geniuses can be scintilliating and geniuses can be somber, but it’s that inescapable sorrowful depth that shines through—originality.”

“Joyce was insulted all his life by practically all of Ireland and…

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