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Jack Kerouac, Toilet Paper, and Finding Your Purpose

I haven’t written a series of blog posts for a while, the last time was whilst I was in China last summer. I was expecting to do something a little similar this summer coming but you know what they say about the best laid plans. 


So here we are, in what has to be one of the most, if not the most, surreal experiences of my life. 


With the cancellation of all of my classes, I have a little more time on my hands so putting finger to keyboard seems like the logical thing for me to do and use it as a way to stay in touch with my White Crane Academy and White Crane Online communities – and give myself something to focus on!


I like writing, I enjoy the process of thoughts flowing from my mind to the pen and I make an attempt to get out of my own way and allowing a free form of expression to appear on the screen in front of me. 


I used to love the novels of Jack Kerouac, apparently he wrote On The Road on one stream of paper, he stuck sheets of paper together to create one long roll of paper – almost like a huge toilet roll. 


Looking at the empty aisles in the supermarkets imagine how much he could sell that huge toilet roll for now! He wouldn’t have even needed to bother with the writing!


Jack Kerouac was one of my early literary ‘heroes’ born of French-Canadian parents in New York, he was one of the faces of what became known as the Beatnik movement, preceding the hippy movement in the 1960’s. 


If you read his novels, which are all semi-autobiographical, with the benefit of hindsight you get a sense of someone with a destiny to always be a famous, respected, and published author. 


However, if you were there in the moment through the days, weeks, months, years of solitary marathon writing sessions, through the years spent travelling, entering and leaving the navy, alcohol and drug use, relationships coming and going, living on the breadline and a stream of low paid incomes, it’d almost seem like an eternity and an incredible struggle to get to the point where he reached the stage of becoming an author. 


But what shines through all of that now is Jack Kerouac the author – as if it were possible that he could have been anything else. 


He had a purpose and he had a mission and through all of the bad times which at the time must have felt never ending, he was always the brilliant author, regardless of what else was going on. 


And I think that’s what everyone needs now. As we seemingly retreat into what could be months of full or semi isolation, I believe that finding a purpose is one of the most important things that you can do. 


What’s Your Purpose? 


Aside from work and family commitments, what is your purpose? What can you do for yourself (or others) to make this whole experience worthwhile. What can you learn, how can you grow and develop? 


It could be that online course you’ve always wanted to do, start meditating regularly, volunteering within your community if you can, getting to know your neighbours (from a safe distance!), getting fit, becoming an online chess master, reading the complete works of Jack Kerouac, even learning Tai Chi online…. 


Find out what it is that you need to give you purpose through these times and go for it with everything you’ve got, don’t let the darkened moods and pessimism penetrate, your purpose will shield you from all of these things – it won’t make every day a good one – but it will give you a reason to get going and up from your sofa, move away from the biscuit tin, and to put down that TV remote control!


What’s My Purpose? 


That’s easy. To create a supportive community of people who are bound together by their love of Chinese Martial Arts. 


That’s been my mission and purpose through whatever life has thrown at me for the better part of the past two decades – and Coronavirus certainly isn’t going to change that. 


So here we are – and if anyone within the community needs support then myself and many other people who have reached out to me the last few days are ready and willing. Don’t be afraid to ask.

4 responses on "Jack Kerouac, Toilet Paper, and Finding Your Purpose"

  1. Thanks for your encouraging message today Mark. Things like this are good to ponder upon in this strange old time…..

  2. Charlotte Whitestone20th March 2020 at 9:31 pmReply

    Thank you Mark for your good humour, wisdom and consistency. You are holding a lot of space for a lot of people, as ever, and it is needed and much appreciated. Yay!

  3. Totally agree with the very well-worded above comment. Thanks so much Mark!

  4. Thank you for your positivity which we all need at the moment.

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