Today I stared down Jack Kerouac’s 120 foot scrolled manuscript of On the Road, currently on display at the British Library.
According to legend, Kerouac banged it out in a three-week writing binge in the spring of 1951 (following heaps of planning). It’s the most expensive original manuscript ever, auctioned off for $2.4 million USD in 2001 and it’s all written on a single scroll of paper.
There was also something else that makes it special.
This week marked the last time a typewriter will ever be made in the United Kingdom. Brother, the only manufacturer still producing them, announced the product was no longer feasible to produce. Any day now, the machines will disappear entirely. When they do, what Kerouac did in ’51 will be impossible.
Which is why I favour the pencil.
And that brings me to this. Recently, a bunch of writers complained the internet was their deadliest distraction. Many went as far as to call it an addiction. I empathise, but there’s no need for web-blocking software.
Just get yourself one of these: