Sunday, February 28, 2010

What was Jack Kerouac doing on this date in 1948?

It's the last day of February 2010, and something is spurring me to post a blog entry here on The Daily Beat. But, I don't really have anything in particular to say. What does a writer do in such cases?

Well, one could always point to a previous post, say the one I posted one year ago on February 28, 2009. But that's lazy.

How about some research?

One could surmise about what Jack was doing on February 28 some particular year. How about 1948, a few months after the California trip that was the source of the beginning of On The Road? As best I can tell (given that someone has yet - to my knowledge - to put together a day-by-day account of Jack's whereabouts and activities [NOTE TO SELF: book idea!]), Jack was living in the Ozone Park apartment in Queens, NYC (see picture above) with his mother (his father had lived with them there but died in 1946; Jack met Neal Cassady in 1947).

According to Douglas Brinkley's Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954 (2004, p. 56), Jack wrote on this date:
I'm going to write ceaselessly about the dignity of human beings no matter who and or what they are, and the less dignity a person has the fewer words I'll use. It's the sheer humanness of a man that comes first, whether geek, fag, 'Negro,' or criminal, whether preacher, financier, father, or senator, whether whore, child, or gravedigger. I con't care who or what -- and that I should have cared before is an insult to Dostoevsky, Melville, Jesus, and my fathers. Wrote 1000-words and typed out 2000-words, and on Saturday night too(!).

Some time in early 1948 - maybe on this date? - according to Gerald Nicosia in Memory Babe (1994, p. 212), Allen Ginsberg "met . . . [Kerouac] in the subway and asked Jack to beat him up!" Shades of Fight Club: maybe Chuck Palahniuk borrowed his whole storyline from the Ginsberg-Kerouac relationship!

Well, I've written myself into the proverbial corner and don't know how to get out. February. 1948. Ozone Park. Dostoevsky. Chuck Palahniuk.

Okay, I'll finish with this. Jack used to hang out at the bar across the street from the Ozone Park walkup. Maybe he was in there this very day in 1948. Then it was called the Doxey Tavern. Now it's called Glen Patrick's Pub. It's located at 133-10 Cross Bay Boulevard and looks like this:

You'd better believe it's on my list of Kerouac pubs to visit!

Do you know what Jack was doing this very day in 1948? Let us know your thoughts.

2 comments:

Crystal said...

I think he and Ayn Rand were strolling arm and arm down Cross Bay Boulevard on their way to Doxey's for their second bottle of port for the day after a night of passionate conversation and sex.

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