Thursday, September 24, 2009

Starting out a young reader the right way

Here's a mom who read The Dharma Bums to her less-than-six-months old daughter: Give your child a head start on reading.

I wonder: What Jack would think about that?

More reading....

See Prehistoric hipsters.

National Punctuation Day

It's National Punctuation Day, a day created just for us grammar prigs. See National Punctuation Day.

Which reminds me of this helpful website for those of you who have difficulty with its and it's: Its and It's.

Of course, Jack Kerouac would eschew today's celebration, as he threw punctuation to the wind. Truth be told, however, he did it consciously and very well knew how to write correctly. He just chose not to. There's a big difference between deliberately stretching the rules and doing it out of ignorance.

"The difference between the right word
and the almost right word is the difference
between lightning and the lightning bug."

~Mark Twain

Six Degrees of Jack Kerouac: Mickey Rourke

I always thought Mickey Rourke was a beat character, and now a reviewer for the Saipan Tribune makes my case. See The Wrestler.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Charlie's poetry book is on Amazon!

Charlie James' brand new poetry book, Life Lines, is now available on Amazon. Here's the link: Charlie's poetry book on Amazon. Charlie has been writing poetry and self-publishing it in chapbooks for years, and now for the first time a selection of his work is available in a professional-grade book.

Anyone who loves poetry will be delighted with this compilation of 201 poems representing nearly two decades of work by this acclaimed poet from upstate New York. I'm biased, of course, having edited and published the book for Charlie (and having written the foreword), but I'm completely confident that anyone who purchases this book will not be disappointed. And it doesn't earn me a dime! All royalties go directly to Charlie, who lives a spartan poet's existence and can surely use the income.

Charlie's about the beatest guy I know, so if you're reading this blog because you're a Jack Kerouac fan, you can't go wrong getting a copy of Charlie's new book.

If you do, Charlie thanks you, and so do I. (And don't forget to give his book a nice 5-star review on Amazon.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Daniel Suelo: A true modern-day beat?

Daniel Suelo lives near a cave in Moab, Utah. He's lived without any use of money or conscious barter for years after a deliberate decision to live as a sadhu in America. Some might say he is a bum. I encourage you to read about him and decide for yourself:

His blog

His website

What would Kerouac think?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Best bar in America?

Jack Kerouac dubbed the M & M Cafe in Butte, Montana the ideal bar. See M & M Cafe article for information on this landmark.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Writing contest

I just sent off an entry, a poem, to a writing contest run by the SFBD Arts & Culture Blog (see details at SFBG LIT123 Contest).

Entries have to be exactly 123 words long - fiction, nonfiction, or poetry - and somehow reflect living in the Bay Area. My entry is a poem about meeting Jack's ghost in City Lights bookstore.

Write a 123-word piece and submit it! What have you got to lose except your inhibitions?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Heavy Kerouac news day

In my on-going efforts to bring you all things Kerouac, I discovered the following news pieces today:

Anne Waldman performs at UNK (We have not paid enough attention to the women beat writers.)

Baraka celebration (Amiri Baraka is another underappreciated beat writer.)

East Village (The East Village is definitely a mecca for Kerouacians.)

Big Sur Festival "09 (I drove through Big Sur in July - didn't know they had a festival there.)

Release of One Fast Move Or I'm Gone (I saw it last year at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! 2008 and it is awesome!)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Year Everything Changed: 1959

Here's a review of the book, The Year Everything Changed: 1959, by Fred Kaplan. According to the reviewer, Charles Kaiser, the book contains a particularly good description of the impact of the beat movement.

As usual, I scour the web for beat news so you don't have to!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! 2009

Once again, I am reminding you of the annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! event in beautiful Lowell, MA, starting October 1 and running through Sunday October 4. For details, visit LCK! 2009.

If you're a Jack Kerouac fan, a visit to Lowell is highly recommended, and this is the perfect weekend to do it. I'll be leaving a copy of The Beat Handbook on Jack's grave (again) and video-documenting the event for YouTube (click here to see me reading there last year). This year I'll be reading from Dr. Sax, since it's the 50th anniversary of its publication. Plus we'll be participating in the tours, readings, and after hours events.

See you there!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jack Kerouac was murdered

I've been reading Empty Phantoms: Interviews and Encounters with Jack Kerouac (see sidebar on the right). The last entry I read before falling asleep last night was a piece by Larry Vickers called "Jack Kerouac - End of the Road" from the book by John Montgomery, Kerouac at the 'Wild Boar' and Other Skirmishes. While I'd read this fact many times before (e.g., in bios), it struck me that the beating Kerouac took one night in a St. Petersburg bar preceded his death by only a short time.

The coroner's report said that Kerouac died of "gastrointestinal hemorrhage, due to bleeding gastric varix from cirrhosis of liver, due to excessive ethanol intake over many years." In an interview for Esquire in March 1970, Kerouac told Jack McClintock, "I got a goddamn hernia, you know that? My goddamn belly button is popping out."

If someone beats the shit out of a person who has a predisposition to gastrointestinal hemorrhage and an umbilical hernia, and the person dies soon after the beating - couldn't that be murder?

Makes sense to me. I say we re-open the case. Anyone want to file a complaint with the St. Petersburg police? Murder has no statute of limitations, right? I bet it'd make the news.

P.S. I came up with this theory myself, yet it's not the first time the murder supposition has surfaced. See this article.