Tag Archives: jack kerouac

A New Year’s Pep Talk: Quotes to Kick off 2016

There’s a lot of hype around the New Year to make a bold statement or write a list of resolutions for the coming year. We imagine it’s because January 1st is such a clear starting line. You have 365 (366 this year!) to chart progress and you’re in the midst of the whole world launching into new goals and pursuits alongside you.

But changing your life can be daunting.
What if you fail?
What if you forget or lose motivation?
What if it requires more work than originally expected?

The good new is that January 1st isn’t the only day we wake up brand new.
Every 24 hours is an opportunity to do something different, to make a bold choice, to risk.
Everyday is a chance so we’re going to encourage you to go for it.
Whatever that big dream, goal, intent might be, just go for it.
In case you need a little extra support, here are some words from the wise about kicking off a new year: Continue reading

“Kill Your Darlings” and Confront Your Demons

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SPOILER ALERT for those not familiar with the history of the Beat Poets (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac & William Burroughs) and the story of the Lucien Carr murder of David Kammerer. 

To be honest, the main reason I went to see Kill Your Darlings this weekend is because Arclight Hollywood was hosting a Q&A with actor Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, The Place Beyond the Pines) afterwards, and being in the same room with him would officially put me one degree away from the Hollywood love of my life – Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, The Amazing Spider-Man). 

I had seen a few of Dane’s previous movies and was always impressed by his powerful and dark performances. However, at the end of Darlings I was spellbound. The movie follows poet Allen Ginsberg (played by Daniel Radcliffe) during his freshman year at Columbia University – where he meets the rest of the beat poet generation, including the charismatic and troubled Lucien Carr (Dehaan). Together they set forth to ignite a literary revolution, but instead find themselves tangled in the web of Lucien’s identity crisis which leads to the murder of their friend and Lucien’s ex lover David Kammerer.

I had Googled the story before I went and I knew the details were horrible. The real Lucien Carr only spent two years in prison for the murder, though he stabbed David and weighed the body down with rocks before drowning him in the Hudson River. He was able to get less time because he convinced the court it was an honor killing. In 1944, if a heterosexual man kills a homosexual man making “unwanted advances” you serve a lesser time in prison. It’s disgusting and disturbing and in print there’s no sympathy for Lucien to be found.

As disturbed as I was by the circumstances of the story, Dehaan gave a performance that was haunting. I’ve been talking about the movie non-stop since I saw it. Starting with the title sequence (which you can see below) and the first time he says Allen, with his voice breaking like that, it chills to the bone. It’s only two syllables but you can hear the absolute terror in them. His life is over if Allen hands in that statement. Lucien will be forced not only to spend the rest of his life in prison but he’ll have to come to terms with who he really is – and the idea of that is so paralyzingly petrifying that he killed a man to stop it from happening.

I have absolutely no idea what it is like to be a closeted gay man, especially in the 1940s. But we are exploring fear this week on Intent, and this movie has made me think a lot about the power we give fear. Lucien is the most extreme example of what can happen if we let ourselves be controlled by fear. Even before the murder Lucien has to banish the things and people he loves most from his life because he’s scared of being honest with himself and the world (granted, coming out of the closet in 1944 was virtually impossible). But that is the great thing about movies, especially ones like this. They enable us to use the cinematic drama to examine ourselves – our flaws, our weaknesses and the state of our own human condition. Are we as deeply troubled as Lucien Carr? I very sincerely hope not, but it doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn from him and this story.

I’ve been asking myself since Saturday night what fear do I let control me? I’m afraid that as badly as I want to be a screenwriter that I don’t have the talent or the gumption to make it. I am afraid of being alone forever. I am afraid of being rejected or finding out the people I love and respect most honestly don’t like me. And these fears have a daily impact on my life. This weekend I spent more time playing Candy Crush Saga than I did working on my screenplay treatment outline. I absolutely refuse to fill out an OkCupid profile even though I’ve read a quarter of my generation now meets their significant other online. I sulked home alone eating chocolate chip cookies instead of going to a good friend’s improv show because the group didn’t invite me to join.

By themselves these seem like small meaningless choices. Confronting these fears that I harbor is the first step in making braver choices in my life. It’s the key to embracing the good things I have around me and going after the things I desire, after my passions and after dreams.

Take a moment today and think about the choices you’ve made in the past week. Which ones have you made out of fear and which ones have you made in spite of it? Pick one of the former and find a way to change it. I’ve made a pact with myself that there will be no Candy Crush Saga until I’ve outlined at least one scene or mapped a character for my movie. I’ve made a pact with myself to no longer be held back by fear.

Kill Your Darlings was released October 16.

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Photo from Tumblr. 

11 Books to Read This Summer (Plus The World’s Longest Book Domino Chain)

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 4.31.05 PMIn addition to barbeques, travel, and outdoor excursions, one of the activities on your summer to-do list is probably reading – at least we know it’s on ours! Summer is a particularly pleasant time of year for reading, what with the nice weather, bright natural light, and long lazy days. Bring a novel along to the beach or on a picnic; pack that lengthy biography for an international flight; recite poems to your love in between baseball innings. Whatever the time, place, or your genre of choice, now is the time to read something you’ve had your eye on since Christmas but got too distracted to begin.

We aren’t the only ones who think summer is a great time for reading. Many public libraries around the country launch summer reading programs to inspire kids who might otherwise get caught up in television reruns and video games. To support this cause, two Seattle college students decided to build the world’s longest book domino chain and make a video demonstrating their project. They teamed up with the Seattle Public Library to construct a 2,131-book domino chain, whimsically filmed with frozen vignettes of people reading in various “settings” next to the chain. Check it out!

Giddy joy is palpable in the crowd when the domino chain comes to an end – and the sweetness of that, alone, might make you want to visit the library! There are so many reasons to read (improve your mind, expand your vocabulary, enhance your imaginative skills) and so many books out there waiting to be explored.

To kick off our new book series, here are 11 of our favorite books to recommend for your summer reading:

  1. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury: A quintessential summer book about a boy growing up in a small Midwestern town. Not as dull as it sounds, we promise! This is a magical and lovely book about youth, curiosity, and the quotidian beauty of life.
  2. Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse: A young man leaves his monastery in search of adventure and the meaning of life. He delves into the world of the senses, experiencing all the pain and pleasure that comes with sexual experience, artistic endeavors, and exploration.
  3. Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac: Buddhism, beat poetry, and booze. If you’ve read On the Road then you’ll have an idea of what you’re getting into. This book is considerably slower-paced and more contemplative, but we think overall more enjoyable.
  4. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez: A magical realist tour de force, this is an absolute must-read. Put aside any expectations of order and tidiness, and let yourself be swept away by this epic tale.
  5. Buddha by Deepak Chopra: This is a lush re-telling of the story of Gautama Buddha. From growing up a blessed child of privilege to forsaking all luxuries and comforts, Buddha will capture your heart as the book captured ours.
  6. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy: A classic and deeply satisfying story of love and redemption. Hardy really isn’t given the credit he deserves as a great author, and even when he is, this particular book is often overlooked. Don’t make the same mistake!
  7. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel: Definitely the strangest of the bunch, this book takes place in prehistoric times and tells the story of a young Cro-Magnon girl rescued by Neanderthals. Historical placement aside, this is a powerful coming-of-age story with particular relevance to girls and women.
  8. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides: There couldn’t possibly be anything romantic about the suicides of five sisters – except the exquisite book in which they take place. This novel is not for the feint of heart, but its beauty will echo around in your soul for years to come.
  9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: If you’ve ever wondered what it might have been like to grow up in an Irish-American home in 1940s Brooklyn, then look no further! The sister-brother relationship is what particularly moves us in this honest and patient coming-of-age story.
  10. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant: Woman power, as told by Dinah, the only female descendent of the Biblical Jacob. This is a harrowing but inspiring tale of love, tragedy, identity, and women’s empowerment. And a highly interesting take on the Biblical narrative.
  11. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: To be honest, the entire LOTR series is what we really love. But this light and engaging prequel is perfect for your lazy summer afternoons. And with the new preview out for part two of Peter Jackson’s cinematic re-telling…

Keep track of the books you’re reading and share your progress with your friends by creating a #books intent on Intent.com! Click here to see Mallika’s example.

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