Thursday, January 26, 2012

John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, and too many books

There are more beat generation-related books in print than one can reasonably read in a lifetime. I'm still working my way through books written by Jack Kerouac, let alone books written about him! My list of "must-read" beat generation books is long enough to keep me busy well into my old age and beyond.

What's a person to do? What do you to when you get all tangled up? You just tango on(that's a movie reference, something that Jack would dig because he did it - see Day 48 in The Beat Handbook). Jack (Sal) was spouting lines from the movie version of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men:
Terry had a new idea. We would hitchhike to Sabinal, her hometown, and live in her brother's garage. Anything was all right with me. On the road I made Terry sit down on my bag to make her look like a woman in distress, and right off a truck stopped and we ran for it, all glee-giggles. The man was a good man; his truck was poor. He roared and crawled on up the valley. We got to Sabinal in the wee hours before dawn. I had finished the wine while Terry slept, and I was proper stoned. We got out and roamed the quiet leafy square of the little California town - a whistle stop on the SP. We went to find her brother's buddy, who would tell us where he was. Nobody home. As dawn began to break I lay flat on my back in the lawn of the town square and kept saying over and over again, "You won't tell what he done up in Weed, will you? What'd he do up in Weed? You won't tell will you? What'd he do up in Weed?" This was from the picture Of Mice and Men, with Burgess Meredith talking to the foreman of the ranch. Terry giggled. Anything I did was all right with her. I could lie there and go on doing that till the ladies came out for church and she wouldn't care. But finally I decided we'd be all set soon because of her brother, and I took her to an old hotel by the tracks and we went to bed comfortably.
Jack was referencing the 1939 version starring Lon Chaney, Jr. and Burgess Meredith. If you haven't seen it, you are missing part of your beat education.

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