On this day in 1951, Jack Kerouac began a 21-day writing marathon, producing a 120-foot typewritten scroll that would become his best-known work, On The Road. In a letter to his friend, Neal Cassady, Kerouac described the process and product: “Went fast because the road is fast… wrote whole thing on strip of paper 120 foot long (tracing paper that belonged to Cannastra.)–just rolled it through typewriter and in fact no paragraphs… rolled it out on floor and it looks like a road.” The scroll contained 125,000 words, which means that Kerouac averaged approximately 6,000 words per day. On The Road was officially published in 1957(1). The original scroll was purchased for $2.43 million by Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, in 2002 (2).
The month of April also marks the anniversary of the first Olympic marathon, run in Athens, Greece on April 10, 1896. The origin of the word marathon comes from Greek legend. According to the story, a Greek foot-soldier Pheidippides was sent as a messenger from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persian army. As he approached Athens, having run a distance of nearly 25 miles, Pheidippides collapsed and died. He did not die, however, without completing his mission; with his last gasp he uttered “niki,” the Greek word for victory.
Incidentally, the word niki is derived from the name of the Greek goddess of victory: Nike – a name that would later become the trademark of a running shoe manufacturer in Oregon.
Today’s Challenge: 26 Topics Abecedarian Marathon
What are some topics you might use in a writing marathon? A marathon is 26 miles, so come up with at least one topic that starts with each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Write out your list of topics in preparation for your next writing marathon. (Common Core Writing 5 – Production and Distribution)
Quotation of the Day: If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon. –Emil Zatopek