Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jack Kerouac's 1947 New Year's Eve

According to Douglas Brinkley's Jack Kerouac: Windblown World (2004), this is Jack's December 31, 1947 journal entry:
Party at Tom's* in Lynbrook, but how sad I was at midnight, without a girl, alone in a room playing "Auld Lang Syne" on the piano with one finger. But afterwards what drinking & yelling, drinking enormously with Jack Fitzgerald**, and telling great stories and talking, right into morning --

* Probably Tom Livornese, a Columbia student and Kerouac friend.
**Jack's friend and drinking buddy from Horace Mann, Columbia, and after.

Being into things before they're cool: George Shearing

I don't know why, but this "year in review" story made little tickly fingers run up my spine.

"Jack Kerouac was into George Shearing before it was cool to be into George Shearing (or into Jack Kerouac, for that matter) . . . . The squares still didn't get it, man."

What are you into that's not cool (yet)?

Friday, December 30, 2011

12 Hangover Cures From Famous Heavy Drinkers

Click here for an interesting compilation in The Atlantic. Burroughs is there, as is Hemingway. Once again, Jack didn't make the list. So, here's a question for Daily Beat readers: What did Jack do for a hangover? Cite your source, please.

10 Famous Authors' Famous Addictions

Burroughs is in here, as is Hemingway. Jack is missing, but we all know what his addiction was: life.

2012 Kerouac-olutions

Herewith are my Kerouac-olutions for 2012, starting with how I did on 2011's.

Update on 2011 Kerouac-olutions (click here for original post):
1. Read Dr. Sax
I did not accomplish this. I lent my copy to a friend, Kerri, and she still has it. I have ordered another and will put it on the 2012 list.
2. Take Crystal to Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!
3. Write a Kerouac-inspired song.
I did not accomplish this. Didn't even make a start on it.
4. Write 56 poems.
I didn't even come close, although I wrote a few (see my other blog) and was fairly consistent in posting them at for Open Link Night.
5. Daydream a lot.
I don't think I accomplished this either. I daydreamed. Just not a lot.
6. Take guitar lessons.
I did accomplish this and it continues, thanks to Crystal setting up my first one for me. My hand troubles got to the point where playing the banjo was impossible, so improving my guitar playing became an important option.
7. Buy Crystal flowers at least once a month.
I think I accomplished this.
8. Read Hayduke Lives!
Sadly, I accomplished this. Love Abbey, just not this particular novel so much.
9. Write an article about Krishnamurti and special education.
Not accomplished. I did start some research, but the effort fizzled.
10. Travel somewhere new.
Done. For example, we went to Cobscook Bay State Park and Campobello Island.

So, I achieved about 50% of my 2011 Kerouac-olutions. Now it's time to make some for the approaching new year.

1. Read Dr. Sax.
2. Read A Dance with Dragons (is this appropriate since I already started it?).
3. Read On The Road: The Original Scroll (again, already started).
4. Buy Crystal flowers at least once a month.
5. See the glass half full more often.
6. Travel somewhere new.
7. Figure out what my next book will be about and actually start it.
8. Sell one of my banjos and get a better guitar.
9. Take advantage of the On The Road movie hype to advertise and sell The Beat Handbook.
10. Learn to love my job or find a new one.

Some of these are measurable, some aren't. Some are too easy, some aren't. What the Hell . . . it's a list of things to accomplish in 2012 and I may or may not succeed. It's a start. At least I put forth the effort to commit it to writing and share it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Daily Beat as a book!

Crystal turned my blog into a book and gave it to me for Christmas. This is an awesome present for anyone who blogs, given that it turns a blog into a hard copy book that even the non-Internet-savvy folks in your circle can enjoy, plus it's an instant heirloom. Additionally, it provides some security in case Blogger (or WordPress or TypePad) experiences some catastrophic loss and your years of posts go bye-bye.

Click here to turn your own blog into a book.

I recommend it! Thanks, sweetie!

Merry Christmas from The Daily Beat

Merry Christmas to everyone out there who chances to read The Daily Beat on occasion. I got some swell beat presents this year (see above). Now the big decision: I had just started reading Maggie Cassidy, and to tell you the truth, I wasn't too engaged with it. Then I get two Kerouac books for Christmas - a perfect excuse to delay Maggie to another time. Now, On The Road: The Original Scroll or The Sea is My Brother: The Lost Novel?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beatitude by Larry Closs: A Review

I just finished Beatitude by Larry Closs. Here is the description from Amazon, where you can buy a copy:
New York City, 1995: Harry Charity is a sensitive young loner haunted by a disastrous affair when he meets Jay Bishop, an outgoing poet and former Marine. Propelled by a shared fascination with the unfettered lives of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation, the two are irresistibly drawn together, even as Jay's girlfriend, Zahra, senses something deeper developing.    
Reveling in their discovery of the legendary scroll manuscript of Kerouac's On the Road in the vaults of the New York Public Library, Harry and Jay embark on a nicotine-and-caffeine-fueled journey into New York's smoky jazz joints, dusty rare-book shops and thriving poetry scene of slams and open-mike nights. 
An encounter with "Howl" poet Allen Ginsberg shatters their notions of what it means to be Beat but ultimately and unexpectedly leads them into their own hearts where they're forced to confront the same questions that confounded their heroes: What do you do when you fall for someone who can't fall for you? What do you do when you're the object of affection? What must you each give up to keep the other in your life? Beatitude features two previously unpublished poems by Allen Ginsberg.
I liked this novel a lot, and for a couple of reasons. First, it is well-written. Closs demonstrates a clear command of narration, dialogue, and detail. As a result, the story is both believable and engaging. Second, Closs skillfully weaves together a modern love story with a Beat Generation subplot, and it works. Along the way, we learn some things about human nature as well.

If you're a Kerouac fan, or a Beat Generation fan in general, and you're looking for your next modern novel, I highly recommend Beatitude by Larry Closs.

One bellwether for a good read is that it inspires you to do even more reading (or writing). As soon as I finished Beatitude, I wanted to keep reading and I was still hungry for a beat love story. So, as you can see by the sidebar, I am now starting Maggie Cassidy by Jack Kerouac. It's one of the only Kerouac novels I haven't yet read. Thanks for the inspiration, Larry!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 100 Kerouaction: On Uncertainty

We made it! This is the last entry in a series identifying all the passages that inspired the 100 entries in The Beat Handbook.

The above passage inspired Day 100, titled "On Uncertainty." As Krishnamurti's taught us, the only security is knowing that there is no certainty.

Can you be secure knowing that everything is happening to everyone right now in this big world and it can't be different from how it is?

As we take leave of this series, please remember to go go go and  stay beat forever, my mad friends!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 99 Kerouaction: On Barter

Day 99 in The Beat Handbook, titled "On Barter," was inspired by the above passage from On The Road. As I've said multiple times here on The Daily Beat, the Beats were green before green was cool. Our current example is barter, as evidenced by Dean swapping a wristwatch for a little piece of rock crystal. Next time you want something, see if you don't have something you could barter for it. It might be something tangible, or it might be your time and skill, as in time banking. Can you sing a song, write a poem, dig a ditch, sew a dress, bake a pie, build a shelf, rake a yard, get someone's groceries, etc.? If so - and I'm sure you could do one of these things if not a million others - you have the makings of a barter system ready for implementation.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kerouac tidbit: On this date in 1947

On this date in 1947, Jack Kerouac wrote only 1,500 words (in his journal he called them "hard-earned, so hard-earned").

Source: Jack Kerouac: Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954 by Douglas Brinkley

The Dharma Bums manuscript is at Rollins College

Note: I learned about this from a Tweet by the Kerouac Project, which I recommend following if you are a Twit (Tweeter? Tweeterer?).

The original manuscript for The Dharma Bums is now at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Clicking here will take you to a blog post about it, including pictures of actual pages and some interesting tidbits of interest to Kerouac fans. Apparently, Jack had typed the novel on teletype paper just like On The Road, but that scroll's whereabouts is unknown, having been sold to an anonymous buyer by Christie's in April 2003.

The manuscript at Rollins College is a version Jack typed from the scroll - there's a picture in the above blog post of him doing so. I'd love to see the manuscript, as Bums is probably my favorite Kerouac novel. You can tell by my license plate.

Day 98 Kerouaction: On Hygiene

The above passage from On The Road inspired Day 98 in The Beat Handbook. If you're on a beat road trip and sleeping in your car or out under the stars and bumming gas money off hitchhikers and eating Cheez Whiz and salami sandwiches and drinking cheap Tokay, you still might want to clean up once in a while, especially if you just visited a whorehouse like the boys did. Beat hygiene would suggest going cheap, so keep in mind public swimming pools and campgrounds. If you're near a public beach by the ocean, they may have showers for washing off the sand and you can be in and out of there with your bar of soap long before getting arrested. Or, why not just grab the biodegradable soap out of your canvas rucksack and jump in the nearest body of water?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Here's a still from The Movie.
What do you think?

Another Kerouac connection dies

George Whitman, an American who owned a famous bookstore in Paris where he hung out with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, has died at age 98. Click here for more.

'49 Hudson comes to The Beat Museum

Click here to read about the '49 Hudson from the upcoming On The Road movie and where you can see it (the Hudson, not the movie). I was so ga-ga over Vesuvio's and Jack Kerouac Alley when we were in San Fran a couple of years ago that we totally spaced going to The Beat Museum. Next trip, for sure!

Day 97 Kerouaction: On "Digging The Ride"

Day 97 in The Beat Handbook was inspired by the above passage from On The Road. It's the prime source of the phrase, "dig the ride," which I usually inscribe as part of signing my books. As I say in the book, "You can accept what is right now without the aid of a guru, drugs, god, or a meditation system." Just decide to "dig the ride."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 96 Kerouaction: On Sleeping Arrangements

Day 96 in The Beat Handbook was inspired by the above passage from On The Road.

Something is wrong with my Blogger interface. I have no ability to italicize, bold, block quote, etc. So, being grouchy this morning and having this additional irritation, I am not saying anything about the passage. You know what you need to do if you're interested in seeing what I said . . . .

Friday, December 16, 2011

Warby Parker Eyewear and Jack Kerouac

I just learned that Warby Parker Eyewear named their company after two Jack Kerouac characters. The below is directly from their website:

Why did we name our company Warby Parker?
We’ve always been inspired by the master wordsmith and pop culture icon, Mr. Jack Kerouac. Two of his earliest characters, recently uncovered in his personal journals, bore the names Zagg Parker and Warby Pepper. We took the best from each and made it our name.

We hope your new glasses will provide all the style you need to travel your road with class, and their price will leave you with some extra cash to use on your journey.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 95 Kerouaction: On Listening to Music

The above passage from On The Road inspired Day 95 in The Beat Handbook.

This passage was the inspiration for my using the phrase go go go throughout the book. And it should be the inspiration for you to listen to jazz. Especially George Shearing, about whom Dean said, "Sal, God has arrived."

To wit:

George Shearing

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Channeling Jack Kerouac

If you haven't seen Vincent Balestri channeling Jack in this piece, you are missing out on something special.

Click here.

Day 94 Kerouaction: On Parking

Day 94 in The Beat Handbook, titled "On Parking," was inspired by the above passage from On The Road.

The Kerouaction? Park in dark spots with your front pointed in the direction you want to go. The latter makes for quick getaways when it's time to go go go. Why in the dark? Then you can use your car for nefarious beat purposes and not be under surveillance by squares who'll call the bobbies.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jack Kerouac writes to a high school student

According to the Dec. 5, 2001, Paris Review, "In 1963, a sixteen-year-old San Diego high school student named Bruce McAllister sent a four-question mimeographed survey to 150 well-known authors of literary, commercial, and science fiction. Did they consciously plant symbols in their work? he asked. Who noticed symbols appearing from their subconscious, and who saw them arrive in their text, unbidden, created in the minds of their readers? When this happened, did the authors mind?"

Read our hero Jack's response by clicking here: Paris Review: The Symbolism Survey. You'll see Jack's actual handwritten responses on the mimeographed survey (yes, some of us remember mimeographs).


The other authors' responses are fascinating. Happy reading!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 93 Kerouaction: On Driving

Today's Kerouaction is brought to you by the above passage from On The Road. For details, click here and buy the book. It makes a great Christmas gift!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hitchhiking redux

Click here for a recent piece in The Atlantic on one our favorite Kerouactions: hitchhiking.

If you've been paying attention, you know that we've mentioned hitchhiking a number of times here on The Daily Beat, including:

August 11, 2011
August 19, 2011
November 28, 2011

We've mentioned it previously, too, but more in passing. You can search The Daily Beat for hitchhiking by typing the following in Google: hitchhiking:hitchhiking: (By the way, that will work with any website you want to search. Just type a search term, a colon, and the URL.)

The Beat Handbook includes the word hitchhike or hitchhiking 20 times.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 92 Kerouaction: On Appearances

The above passage from On The Road inspired Day 92 in The Beat Handbook, titled, "On Appearances."

There are three discernable Kerouactions in this short passage, all having to do with appearances:

1. Stop shaving so often
2. Go around barechested
3. Hang out with bums

Indeed, perhaps these are part of the marching orders for the army of hobo dharma bums I discussed in a previous post.

Kerouacian hobo army of Dharma Bums?

From today's Dilbert (see above) I got the idea that maybe Occupy is really the beginning of a hobo army of Dharma bums taking over the world. And would that really be a bad thing?