Jack Kerouac wrote Gary Snyder (Japhy Ryder in The Dharma Bums) a long letter on this date -- December 1 -- in 1958. It is full of important insights about various topics. I point out four such topics below.
1. Jack was stressed out from all the attention he was getting in the limelight.
I haven't written because five thousand sillinesses have kept me from it: emergency letters and gaddam telegrams thrown on my doorstep noon and night and I have to answer them all one way or t'other.... If you only knew how horrible it was to be "famous" you wouldn't want it, in fact you don't want it.... I wanted to give you idea of what a crock of shit it is to have to satisfy every tom dick and harry stranger in the world.(Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1957-1969 edited by Ann Charters, Penguin Books, 1999, pp. 192-193)
2. Jack was drinking too much.
I have to get some whiskey.... I have just been insulted again in Esquire who don't take my stories any more because I slept on the floor or their photography editor. At noon, drunk....(Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1957-1969 edited by Ann Charters, Penguin Books, 1999, p. 193)
3. Some content in Visions of Gerard came from Jack's mother, not his prodigious memory.
I have to go over Visions of Gerard and stick in a few new anecdotes (true ones) my mother remembers.(Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1957-1969 edited by Ann Charters, Penguin Books, 1999, p. 192)
4. Jack used Buddhist concepts to understand himself and the world.
I am going to stop calling it samsara and call it vicious circle.... I was in love with the world through blue purple curtains when I knew you and now I have to look at it through hard iron eyes. I will survive as myself just the same. I read the Diamond Sutra and I still know all about that self shit.(Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1957-1969 edited by Ann Charters, Penguin Books, 1999, pp. 192-194)
And there's more. If you haven't read this letter, or the rest of this book, what are you waiting for? Where else are you going to find prose like this: "I was in love with the world through blue purple curtains when I knew you"? Make it an early Christmas present to yourself.