Anti-Grammar

Growing up, I was a grammar fanatic. My father taught me to appreciate grammar from a young age. He would sit down with me and review each and every paper I wrote until college, marking up what was right and wrong and explain easy ways to improve my writing through grammar. My writing was structured, simple, and easy to follow. I assumed that if I wrote with proper grammar, I would be a good writer.

But when I read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road,  I learned that I was wrong. Kerouac is widely known for his “spontaneous prose,” says Wikipedia, and general disregard for literary conventions — he’s the antithesis of a textbook writer, yet his writing is famous for it’s innate beauty and rhythm. Kerouac’s free-writing style serves as a new domain for which I yearn to tread. Rhythm specifically, is something that I’ve tried to pick up on.

Just randomly (or not?), I found this excerpt on Kerouac’s writing style:

Connected with his idea of breath was the elimination of the period, preferring to use a long, connecting dash instead. As such, the phrases occurring between dashes might resemble improvisational jazz licks. When spoken, the words might take on a certain kind of rhythm, though none of it pre-meditated.”

Though proper grammar is great and all, I wish other writers would appreciate this grammar-iconoclasm as I do.