124+ Best Jack Kerouac Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Jack Kerouac was a novelist and poet who is considered a literary iconoclast and, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. He is recognized for his method of spontaneous prose. Profoundly inspirational Jack Kerouac quotes will encourage you to think a little deeper than you usually would and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for motivational quotes by authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes by J. K. Rowling, best Joan Didion quotes and greatest John Green quotes.

Famous Jack Kerouac Quotes

A fool forgetting all the ideals and joys I knew before, in my recent years of drinking and disappointment, what does he care if he hasn’t got any money: he doesn’t need any money, all he needs is his rucksack with those little plastic bags of dried food and a good pair of shoes and off he goes and enjoys the privileges of a millionaire in surroundings like this. – Jack Kerouac

Ray, what you got to do is go climb a mountain. – Jack Kerouac

Let the mind beware, that though the flesh be bugged, the circumstances of existence are pretty glorious. – Jack Kerouac

Some of my most neurotically fierce bitterness is the result of realizing how untrue people have become. – Jack Kerouac

Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now. – Jack Kerouac

Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind. – Jack Kerouac

Who can leap the world’s ties and sit with me among white clouds? – Jack Kerouac

I believed in a good home, insane and sound living, in good food, good times, work, faith and hope. I have always believed in these things. It was with some amazement that I realized I was one of the few people in the world who really believed in these things without going around making a dull middle-class philosophy out of it. I was suddenly left with nothing in my hands but a handful of crazy stars. – Jack Kerouac

Rest and be kind, you don’t have to prove anything – Jack Kerouac

And as far as I can see the world is too old for us to talk about it with our new words. – Jack Kerouac

I came to a point where I needed solitude and just stop the machine of ‘thinking’ and ‘enjoying’ what they call ‘living’, I just wanted to lie in the grass and look at the clouds. – Jack Kerouac

Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea. – Jack Kerouac

The sun goes down long and red. All the magic names of the valley unrolled – Manteca, Madera, all the rest. Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon field; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries. I stuck my head out the window and took deep breaths of the fragant air. It was the most beautiful of all moments. – Jack Kerouac

Maybe that’s what life is a wink of the eye and winking stars. – Jack Kerouac

Because he had no place, he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars. – Jack Kerouac

Pretty girls make graves. – Jack Kerouac

I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future. – Jack Kerouac

I was having a wonderful time and the whole world opened up before me because I had no dreams. – Jack Kerouac

Dean’s California–wild, sweaty, important, the land of lonely and exiled and eccentric lovers come to forgather like birds, and the land where everybody somehow looked like broken-down, handsome, decadent movie actors. – Jack Kerouac

We tiptoed around each other like heartbreaking new friends. – Jack Kerouac

I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion. – Jack Kerouac

Desolation, desolation, I owe so much to desolation. – Jack Kerouac

My life is a vast inconsequential epic. – Jack Kerouac

I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn’t remember because the transitions from life to death and back are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it. – Jack Kerouac

I was surprised, as always, be how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility. – Jack Kerouac

As far as I’m concerned, the only thing to do is sit in a room and get drunk – Jack Kerouac

Writing at least is a silent meditation even though you’re going a hundred miles an hour. – Jack Kerouac

The road must eventually lead to the whole world. – Jack Kerouac

It always makes me proud to love the world somehow- hate’s so easy compared. – Jack Kerouac

One night I realized that when you give people understanding and encouragement a funny little meek childish look abashes their eyes, no matter what they’ve been doing they weren’t sure it was right – lambies all over the world. – Jack Kerouac

My whole wretched life swam before my weary eyes, and I realized no matter what you do it’s bound to be a waste of time in the end so you might as well go mad. – Jack Kerouac

Lying mouth to mouth, kiss to kiss in the pillow dark, loin to loin in unbelievable surrendering sweetness so distant from all our mental fearful abstractions it makes you wonder why men have termed God antisexual somehow (p. 148) – Jack Kerouac

You’d be surprised how little I knew even up to yesterday. – Jack Kerouac

It’s all too much and not enough at the same time. – Jack Kerouac

Put down the pen someone else gave you. No one ever drafted a life worth living on borrowed ink. – Jack Kerouac

While looking for the light, you may suddenly be devoured by the darkness and find the true light. – Jack Kerouac

Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wild-haired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running – that’s the way to live. All alone and free in the soft sands of the beach. – Jack Kerouac

I spent my entire youth writing slowly with revisions and endless rehashing speculation and deleting and got so I was writing one sentence a day and the sentence had no FEELING. Goddamn it, FEELING is what I like in art, not CRAFTINESS and the hiding of feelings. – Jack Kerouac

Everything is ecstasy inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind [it] is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. – Jack Kerouac

It’ll take you eternities to get rid of me,’ she adds sadly, which makes me jealous, I want her to say I’ll never get rid of her – I wanta be chased till eternity till I catch her. – Jack Kerouac

I’m right there, swimming the river of hardships but I know how to swim. – Jack Kerouac

If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime. – Jack Kerouac

You are the equal of the idol who has given you your inspiration. – Jack Kerouac

Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life. – Jack Kerouac

It’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies – Jack Kerouac

colleges being nothing but grooming schools for the middle-class non-identity which usually finds its perfect expression on the outskirts of the campus in rows of well-to-do houses with lawns and television sets in each living room with everybody looking at the same thing and thinking the same thing at the same time while the Japhies of the world go prowling in the wilderness to hear the voice crying in the wilderness, to find the ecstacy of the stars, to find the dark mysterious secret of the origin of faceless wonderless crapulous civilization. – Jack Kerouac

Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind. – Jack Kerouac

Suppose we suddenly wake up and see that what we thought to be this and that, ain’t this and that at all? – Jack Kerouac

And I will die, and you will die, and we all will die, and even the stars will fade out one after another in time. – Jack Kerouac

Are we fallen angels who didn’t want to believe that nothing is nothing and so were born to lose our loved ones and dear friends one by one and finally our own life, to see it proved? – Jack Kerouac

Isn’t it true that you start your life a sweet child believing in everything under your father’s roof? Then comes the day of the Laodiceans, when you know you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and with the visage of a gruesome grieving ghost you go shuddering through nightmare life. – Jack Kerouac

We were all delighted, we all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing our one and noble function of the time, move. – Jack Kerouac

This was a manuscript of the night we couldn’t read. – Jack Kerouac

It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it. – Jack Kerouac

Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night? – Jack Kerouac

Jumping from boulder to boulder and never falling, with a heavy pack, is easier than it sounds; you just can’t fall when you get into the rhythm of the dance. – Jack Kerouac

So therefore, I dedicate myself, to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my suffrances, my loneliness, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being. – Jack Kerouac

Now the mountains were getting that pink tinge, I mean the rocks, they were just solid rock covered with the atoms of dust accumulated there since beginningless time. In fact I was afraid of those jagged monstrosities all around and over our heads. They’re so silent! I said. Yeah man, you know to me a mountain is a Buddha. Think of the patience, hundreds of thousands of years just sitting there bein perfectly perfectly silent and like praying for all living creatures in that silence and just waitin for us to stop all our frettin and foolin. – Jack Kerouac

I looked up at the dark sky and prayed to God for a better break in life and a better chance to do something for the little people I loved. – Jack Kerouac

So long and take it easy, because if you start taking things seriously, it is the end of you. – Jack Kerouac

He seems to me to be headed for his ideal fate, which is compulsive psychosis dashed with a jigger of psychopathic irresponsibility and violence. – Jack Kerouac

Finding Nirvana is like locating silence. – Jack Kerouac

No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language and knowledge. – Jack Kerouac

It is not my fault that certain so-called bohemian elements have found in my writings something to hang their peculiar beatnik theories on. – Jack Kerouac

Don’t tell them too much about your soul. They’re waiting for just that. – Jack Kerouac

A scene should be selected by the writer for haunted-ness-of-mind interest. If you’re not haunted by something, as by a dream, a vision, or a memory, which are involuntary, you’re not interested or even involved. – Jack Kerouac

Who knows, my God, but that the universe is not one vast sea of compassion actually, the veritable holy honey, beneath all this show of personality and cruelty? – Jack Kerouac

I think it’s all lovely hallucination, but I love it sorta. – Jack Kerouac

Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk – real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious. – Jack Kerouac

Night is longer than day for those who dream & day is longer than night for those who make their dreams comes true. – Jack Kerouac

The world you see is just a movie in your mind. Rocks don’t see it. Bless and sit down. Forgive and forget. Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now. That’s the story. That’s the message. Nobody understands it, nobody listens, they’re all running around like chickens with heads cut off. I will try to teach it, but it will be in vain, s’why I’ll end up in a shack praying and being cool and singing by my woodstove making pancakes. – Jack Kerouac

On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars – Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another word. – Jack Kerouac

Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion. – Jack Kerouac

If you don’t say what you want, what’s the sense of writing? – Jack Kerouac

When you start separating people from their rivers, what have you got? Bureaucracy! – Jack Kerouac

Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain. – Jack Kerouac

I want to work in revelations, not just spin silly tales for money. I want to fish as deep down as possible into my own subconscious in the belief that once that far down, everyone will understand because they are the same that far down. – Jack Kerouac

Forgive everyone for your own sins and be sure to tell them you love them which you do. – Jack Kerouac

Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy. – Jack Kerouac

But they need to worry and betray time with urgencies false and otherwise, purely anxious and whiny, their souls really won’t be at peace unless they can latch to an established and proven worry and having once found it they assume facial expressions to fit and go with it, which is, you see, unhappiness, and all the time it all flies by them and they know it and that too worries them no end. – Jack Kerouac

The Beat Generation, that was a vision that we had, John Clellon Holmes and I, and Allen Ginsberg in an even wilder way, in the late forties, of a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere, ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way. – Jack Kerouac

The bartenders are the regular band of Jack, and the heavenly drummer who looks up to the sky with blue eyes, with a beard, is wailing beer-caps of bottles and jamming on the cash register and everything is going to the beat – It’s the beat generation, its béat, it’s the beat to keep, it’s the beat of the heart, it’s being beat and down in the world and like old time lowdown. – Jack Kerouac

You seek identity in the midst of indistinguishab le chaos, in sprawling nameless reality. – Jack Kerouac

It is possible for the human spirit to win after all. – Jack Kerouac

I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted. – Jack Kerouac

I felt free and therefore I was free. – Jack Kerouac

The page is long, blank, and full of truth. When I am through with it, it shall probably be long, full, and empty with words. – Jack Kerouac

One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls. – Jack Kerouac

And when the fog’s over and the stars and the moon come out at night it’ll be a beautiful sight. – Jack Kerouac

The empty blue sky of space says ‘All this comes back to me, then goes again, and comes back again, then goes again, and I don’t care, it still belongs to me. – Jack Kerouac

At night in this part of the West the stars, as I had seen them in Wyoming, were as big as Roman Candles and as lonely as the Prince who’s lost his ancestral home and journeys across the spaces trying to find it again, and knows he never will. – Jack Kerouac

Better to sleep in an uncomfortable bed free, than sleep in a comfortable bed unfree. – Jack Kerouac

Believe in the holy contour of life. – Jack Kerouac

Something good will come out of all things yet. And it will be golden and eternal just like that. – Jack Kerouac

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

I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t make any difference. – Jack Kerouac

The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream. – Jack Kerouac

In my madness I was actually in love with her for the few hours it all lasted; it was the same unmistakable ache and stab across the mind, the same sighs, the same pain, and above all the same reluctance and fear to approach. – Jack Kerouac

Everything I wrote was true because I believed what I saw. – Jack Kerouac

Be in love with your life, every detail of it. – Jack Kerouac

My aunt once said that the world would never find peace until men fell at their women’s feet and asked for forgiveness. – Jack Kerouac

But I remember seeing a mess of leaves suddenly go skittering in the wind and into the creek, then floating rapidly down the creek towards the sea, making me feel a nameless horror even then of ‘Oh my God, we’re all being swept away to sea no matter what we know or say or do. – Jack Kerouac

Swinging on delicate hinges the autumn leaf almost off the stem. – Jack Kerouac

I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling. – Jack Kerouac

Offer them what they secretly want, and they of course immediately become panic-stricken. – Jack Kerouac

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple. – Jack Kerouac

It’s not that I can’t fall in love. It’s really that I can’t help falling in love with too many things all at once. So, you must understand why I can’t distinguish between what’s platonic and what isn’t, because it’s all too much and not enough at the same time. – Jack Kerouac

What do you want out of life? I asked, and I used to ask that all the time of girls. – Jack Kerouac

He had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars. – Jack Kerouac

This is the story of America. Everybody’s doing what they think they’re supposed to do. – Jack Kerouac

Pain or love or danger makes you real again. – Jack Kerouac

Stick at it like a benni addict. – Jack Kerouac

A sociable smile is nothing but a mouth full of teeth. – Jack Kerouac

The truth of the matter is, you die, all you do is die, and yet you live, yes you live, and that’s no Harvard lie. – Jack Kerouac

Sure baby, mañana. It was always mañana. For the next few weeks that was all I heard mañana a lovely word and one that probably means heaven. – Jack Kerouac

Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry. – Jack Kerouac

I was amazed by the fact that I was not the only writer living, not the only young man with a locomotive in his chest, and that’s a fact, not the only youth with a million hungers and not one of them appeasable, not the only one who is lonely among multitudes, and does not know why. – Jack Kerouac

I promise I shall never give up, and that I’ll die yelling & laughing. – Jack Kerouac

In my medicine cabinet, the winter fly has died of old age. – Jack Kerouac

Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road. – Jack Kerouac

We agreed to love each other madly. – Jack Kerouac

A pain stabbed my heart as it did every time, I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world. – Jack Kerouac

My shoes are clean from walking in the rain. – Jack Kerouac

No matter how you travel, how ‘successful’ your tour, or foreshortened, you always learn something and learn to change your thoughts. – Jack Kerouac

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