Writer Wednesday – On The Road

So you think your book is clear and everything you intend to say is coming across the way you expect? Not so much. There are a lot of books out there where the author had a clear intention and no one really understood it. Worse, many of them got turned in directions that actively upset the person who wrote it.

One of these is the book On The Road by Jack Kerouac. Thanks to this book, the Beatniks existed. Published in the late fifties, many took it as the defining their era, even though it was actually describing events that happened a decade before. While suddenly thousands were clamoring to take up all the trappings of ‘the Beat Generation’, the author himself felt they were all missing the point. Anyone who wanted it was obviously not a part of it. The whole point was that you were beaten down by society. Kerouac absolutely hated his time on the road, even if it did happen to have some positive and interesting moments.

He had written the book expecting that it showed the folly of his attempt to find himself in that way and the negatives that plagued him, and instead inspired posers to try idealizing it. He was highly resentful of the fact that he had inspired a cultural revolution that he himself felt was something to be avoided and loathed.

So what is the point of this? Well, just that you might be saying one thing and they are reading something else. Kerouac isn’t the only person who has suffered from this. I may at some point explore some of the others who suffered the same sort of misreading. For now, just remember that only you can see everything that is going on in your head. Don’t get caught off guard if someone perhaps reads it an entirely different way.

What are your thoughts?

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