Monday, May 22, 2017

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac: Make your reservations NOW

In the mail today I received a flyer from Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! about the festival this October 5-9. It reminded me that it can be challenging to get lodging in the city as there is really only one choice: the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. Staying there makes most events walkable, or a short UBER or cab ride.

In previous years, we have not had a lot of luck getting rooms at the Inn, so I just went on-line to make reservations. Expedia showed nothing for those dates, but Trivago did and it said it had 4 rooms left when I pulled the trigger on our reservations.

If you are a regular attendee at LCK, you already know it's a worthwhile event to attend if for no other reason than to hang out with fellow Kerouacians for a few days. On top of that, there are open mikes and academic talks and musical events and (this year) a marathon reading of On The Road and, of course, you can schedule a visit to Jack's grave (as we always do). And so on . . . .

So, here is what you shall do. Get on the Trivago website and reserve a room right now at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center for October 5-9. For details about the festival, you can visit the LCK website here: http://www.lowellcelebrateskerouac.org/festival.

I see that link is not yet updated, so for now you can see some details in my previous post from May 14: http://thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com/2017/05/preview-of-lowell-celebrates-kerouac.html.

See you in October, the month when everybody goes home . . . .

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Kerouacian gift from a student



One of my students made this woodburning for me as a retirement gift. It's from Part 1, Chapter 4 of On The Road.

What an excellent and thoughtful gift, right? I love that she made it herself!

Purists will note a small discrepancy from the text, but that is understandable. I suspect my student may have gotten the quote from Goodreads, which cites the original scroll.

Here is the Goodreads quote:
“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”

Here is the original scroll's version:
"...because there's nowhere to go but everywhere, and keep rolling under the stars, generally the western stars."

Here is the classic text's version:
"...because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars, generally the Western stars."

As you can see, there are several differences between the original scroll and the classic version, and the Goodreads entry is not exactly the same as either (bad on Goodreads). Somewhere along the line, someone took this great line and changed it just a little bit and it got repeated by others.

My student gets a pass on this. First of all, it's the thought that counts. Second, it's pretty damn close to the actual quote. Third, when I Google the quote, the top 6 entries are wrong. Fourth, she's one of my majors and not from my Kerouac class. Fifth, even though she wasn't in my Kerouac class, she still knew about my Kerouac obsession. Sixth, even if you wanted to fact-check Goodreads, it's pretty difficult to find passages in the original scroll unless you really know the book (given that there are no chapters and no paragraph breaks, and Goodreads provides no page number).

Lesson to readers: There are lots of misquoted or misattributed "Kerouac quotes" out there. Be careful. One good resource is the Kerouac Wikiquote (but even that is no help in the above instance -- perhaps someone will edit the Wiki to address that): https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Jack_Kerouac.

To my student (if you read this): Sorry to make a lesson out of your gift, but I know the Kerouac community and someone was bound to point this out. Better me than them.

 




Preview of Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival October 5-9, 2017

I recently received the below e-mail from the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Committee. With participants like John Leland (author of Why Kerouac Matters), Kerouac friends and musicians Ramblin' Jack Elliott and David Amram -- how can you  miss it? Also, this is the 60th anniversary of publication of On The Road in 1957, so a marathon reading of Jack's most famous novel will be happening at Pollard Memorial Library where Jack spent many a day playing hooky from high school reading his way into literary history.

If you go -- and I hope you will -- make sure to take flash pictures during Ramblin' Jack Elliott's performance. He loves that. (Not! To wit, see my January 13, 2013 post: http://thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/san-francisco-kerouactivities-report.html).

UPDATE ON MAY 16, 2017: The LCK Committee has announced since the below e-mail that Ramblin' Jack will not be at the festival this year.

Here's the e-mail:

Preview of Coming Attractions:
The 2017 Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival
October 5-9, 2017

Save those dates as it will be a great time in Lowell for Kerouac devotees. Some of the events for the 2017 LCK Festival are being built around the 60th anniversary of the publication of On the Road. The featured speaker will be John Leland, a feature writer for The New York Times and the author of Why Kerouac Matters--The Lessons of "On the Road" (They're Not What You Think).

A marathon reading of OTR is being scheduled to be held at Lowell's Pollard Memorial Library.

Our featured performer will be Ramblin' Jack Elliott, a contemporary of Jack Kerouac, Woody Guthrie, and others of that era. He'll be on at Zorba's Music Hall on Saturday night, October 7.

No LCK Festival would be compete without the enduring and loving presence of David Amram. He'll be on at Zorba's on Friday night for a showing of the classic film Pull My Daisy, followed with commentary by David and Nancy Fox. This will be followed by an evening of jazz with David and local musicians. The annual Amram Jam will happen, of course, on Sunday afternoon.

And there will be the usual array of tours, open mikes, art exhibitions, Talkin' Jack, and--perhaps most important--the reconnecting of Kerouac aficionados from around the country and various parts of the world.

The full schedule will be up on our website once we get it in place; www.lowellcelebrateskerouac.org. Make your plans now to be in Lowell come October!

The Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Committee





Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Buddhist Bible: Jack's only book on Desolation Peak



I just scored this used copy of Dwight Goddard's A Buddhist Bible. It was a significant influence on Jack Kerouac, so much so that, according to John Suiter in Poets on the Peaks:

Kerouac took only one book with him to Desolation: his leather-jacketed Buddhist Bible, with its marker ribbon set to the pages of the Diamond Sutra.....Jack read the Diamond Sutra, following his practice of studying one paramita/chapter a day in a weekly cycle, as he had been doing more or less regularly since 1955. (p. 210)

Jack borrowed and never returned his copy of A Buddhist Bible from the San Jose Public Library in early 1954 during a visit with Neal and Carolyn Cassady. According to Suiter:

...he had a rough leather cover made for it and carried the book around with him all over the United States and Mexico, reading it nearly every day for the next four years. The Diamond Sutra especially inspired him -- "the diamond that cuts through/to the other view," as he would call it in Orizaba Blues. (p. 166)

For some back story on Kerouac's use of the phrase "MAY YOU USE THE DIAMONDCUTTER OF MERCY" in The Dharma Bums, see my April 14, 2012 post at http://thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/beat-generation-back-story-jack-kerouac.html.

Perhaps in retirement I shall take up Jack's reading practice in order "to condition ... [my] mind to 'emptiness' and, if possible, to actually bring on a vision" as he was trying to do on Desolation (Suiter, p. 210).


P.S. Don't you wonder what Jack's fine has accumulated to at the San Jose Public Library?





Monday, May 1, 2017

My Last Lecture at UMF

A few years ago, the University of Maine at Farmington -- from which I am retiring in 30 days -- started a tradition of having one of its retiring professors give a "last lecture." The practice was inspired by Randy Pausch and you can read about that here: http://www.cmu.edu/randyslecture/book/.

Since I mention Jack Kerouac in my lecture, and since a number of people have asked for access to at least the script I was using (it wasn't video- or audio-taped), I thought I'd bake two pies with one oven and post it here. Keep in mind that this is just the script from which I spoke and it is not intended to be polished writing. Plus, in the live version I omitted some parts and added others extemporaneously. Suffice to say it was probably better to hear it in person than to read my script. At least I hope so . . . .
Nevertheless, and without further ado, here is a link to the script I used to deliver my "last lecture" at UMF on April 26:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jFnV2xs4eIrpvu1sERHHUGPNGg3XRAiLBryUAf9XqIU/edit?usp=sharing.