Saturday, August 30, 2014

Random Kerouac musings on a late August morning

The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, near "home"
It's starting to feel like fall outside, especially in the morning it seems, and so my thoughts often turn to Jack Kerouac.

It's widely thought that October was Jack's favorite month. As he said, in On the Road, "Everybody goes home in October." One of my strongest memories of adolescence is returning home from college for "homecoming weekend," especially my first year (when I was a "freshman," a no longer politically correct term because we've lost our minds in service to tolerance). There was just something about standing around the huge bonfire on the baseball field, eating a hot dog from the concession stand, watching football players you actually had gone to school with, seeing high school friends who similarly left for college but returned for the weekend, and reminiscing about high school life.

But as one of Jack's favorite authors, Thomas Wolfe, titled a novel: You Can't Go Home Again.

One can visit, though, and this faux fall weather seems to be pulling me back toward "home." Honestly, while Maine is my home and I love it here and I love my life, Pennsylvania still feels like "home." I haven't been back in a few years, yet a trip in the near future is doubtful. I want to use Christmas break to see my grandson for the first time, and I'm using fall break for our annual trip to Lowell.

Now that I think of it, going to Lowell feels like going home. Figure that one out if you can. I'm a surrogate for Jack, going "home" in October?

See you in October, my Kerouacian friends.

Friday, August 8, 2014

2014 Lowell Celebrates Kerouac schedule and this year's secret word

Click here and you will be able to download a brochure containing the schedule of events at the 2014 Lowell Celebrates Kerouac (LCK) Festival in Jack's beautiful hometown of Lowell, MA, from October 10 - October 14. If you're reading this post, I'll assume you're a Kerouac fan. That means a visit to Lowell for the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival is essential! At the LCK website you can also buy schwag (merchandise) and donate to help keep this great organization doing its thing.

I'm not sure Jack had a major novel published 50 years ago (1964), although the LCK website says it's the 50th anniversary of Visions of Gerard (VOG). We assumed last year was VOG's 50th (1963) and read from it at the grave, so this year we'll be reading from a novel we haven't yet read from at Jack's grave: Visions of Cody. Why? Because it's Jack blowing his wildest and we need some of that in these crazy times.

The secret word this year is the name of the Kerouac family member who died 50 years ago (on September 19). Long-time Daily Beat readers already know that the first person who comes up to me at LCK and whispers the secret word in my ear gets a free signed copy of my book, The Beat Handbook.

See you in Lowell in the redslant October sunlight!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Robot hitchhiking across Canada



I saw this story on the national news the other night and it caught my attention. A robot is making its way across Canada by hitchhiking. "Hitchbot" can talk, but is totally dependent on humans to pick him up and transport him. Hitchbot started in Halifax, Nova Scotia and is headed for Victoria, British Columbia.

Read about Hitchbot by clicking here.

A robot after Jack Kerouac's heart. You gotta love it!




Happy 80th Birthday to Diane di Prima

Poet Diane di Prima was born this date 80 years ago. What's she have to do with Jack Kerouac, you say? She's a beat poet and she knew Jack. That's enough to qualify as a Daily Beat birthday honoree.

Happy Birthday, Diane.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

RIP, Jan Kerouac

Jack Kerouac's only child, Jan Kerouac, died this date in 1996 at the age of 44. If you haven't checked out her writing, please do so. The acorn didn't fall far from the tree in that regard. I recommend both her completed novels, Baby Driver and Trainsong. Excerpts of her unfinished novel, Parrot Fever, are also available (at a price).


There's no complete biography of Jan yet, but one may be in the works. In the meantime, you can read Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, a collection of memoirs, photos, and an interview (edited by Gerald Nicosia).

RIP, Jan. You led a colorful life and definitely lived a lot in your time. I wish we could have met (from what I know, I suspect I may have had a little crush).










Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Happy Birthday, Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg would have been 88 years old today. Click here for last year's birthday greeting and links to his poem, Howl.

In my head, this is how I picture Allen. I don't know why. There are lots of younger and older images out there to choose from.

Ginsberg at Kerouac's funeral
Photo by Jeff Albertson

Happy Birthday to an original American poet.