Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Spontaneous Western haiku Tuesday (5-7-5 free zone)

Kerouac wrote Burroughs wrote
Ginsberg wrote the Generation wrote
The Shrouded Traveler wrote their souls wrote


Heat of my heart
Healing discomforts
Time slows and slows


Maine's state bird
Which kind? argue the people
The chickadees don't care


"It will be here when
You come back in"
She smiled knowingly


Everything that comes goes
Everything with a beginning has an ending
But nothing that's good ever dies


She asked "What does any of
this have to do with Kerouac?"
And I cried Beat tears





Monday, February 25, 2019

Jack Kerouac and 666 (UPDATED: 2-28-19)

At the top of my blog's dashboard when I have it on "All Posts," it was just reading 1-100 of 1666, which freaked me out a little bit because I am numerologically superstitious and you all know what 666 represents.

So I decided to publish this post, which effectively changed that number to 1-100 of 1667. But then I thought, what's the connection between Jack Kerouac and the number 666? As I've said many times, everything connects to Kerouac.

I'm not aware of any direct connections off the top of my head, so I turned to the Google machine and found that Gina Arnold wrote a book titled, Route 666: On the Road to Nirvana; in it she charts the journey from punk to grunge. In the abstract of a lecture she gave at a KISMIF conference about the topic, she used a Kerouac quote (click here). Yet there are two more connections. First, the title of her book includes the phrase "on the road," which most people associate with Kerouac. Second, 1/3 of the Beat triumvirate, William S. Burroughs, is widely acknowledged as an influence on punk and grunge music, so I suspect he is mentioned in Arnold's book.

Then there's this tangential connection from page 112 of Robert O'Brian's Jack Kerouac's Confession, in which Kerouac and the number 666 are mentioned in the same paragraph:



I'm pretty sure, given his Catholicism, that Kerouac was at least aware of the number 666 and its meaning. Whether he mentioned it in a novel or a journal or a letter will take someone with a better memory than mine or who has all of Kerouac's writings digitally searchable. Any takers?

P.S. Dave Moore, Kerouac scholar extraordinaire from the U.K., took me up on my offer and posted in the Facebook Kerouac group an excerpt from a Kerouac letter in which he mentions Route 666 (now U.S. Route 491). See comments below.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums full text on-line




I've mentioned this before, but I forgot to mention in the context of my recent project -- summarizing each chapter of The Dharma Bums in one sentence (click here) -- that the full text of Jack Kerouac's novel is available on-line here. It's probably a huge copyright problem and it could disappear, so you might want to cut-and-paste the whole thing into your own document. I would never do that, of course, since it would be illegal.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Sex, lies, and Jack Kerouac



*******READ THE WHOLE POST BEFORE YOU GO BALLISTIC*******

Sorry about waxing so political yesterday. Well, not really. Suffice to say I want readers to know that I didn't go there in order to cause more division where there is already so much. But sometimes things are on my mind and I want to write about them. Writing my thoughts out helps me not only organize them but also think more deeply about them as I try to find the right words to express them.

And, of course, as I have said many times, this is my blog and I'll write about what I want and say what I want. As long as I promise to connect what I say to Kerouac -- even if tangentially -- I am on course provided I'm being compassionate.

Which brings me to today's topic: compassion. What is it? And what does it have to do with Kerouac?

Well, it happens that I've written about compassion a few times in the past here on The Daily Beat. Two pieces I still think are on point are available here and here. Those two pieces pretty much answer the two above questions. In summary, compassion is concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others, and Jack was devoted to the principle (whether he acted on the principle in all cases is not the point here, and besides, no one does).

So why is it on my mind today? The Robert Kraft story. If you haven't been following the news, Kraft -- the 77-year-old famous owner of the New England Patriots -- was just charged with soliciting prostitution in a sex trafficking sting at a Florida massage parlor. Folks are in an uproar over it, and there's not a peep among the talking heads that hints at giving Kraft the benefit of the doubt here (i.e., extending some compassion to him). Who knows all the variables that go into his decision to pay for sex? First of all, he's a widow. But, he has a girlfriend. Is it okay with her that he paid for sex with someone else? Who knows? Maybe they have an agreement? Did he know the women at the massage parlor were being mistreated and coerced by the owner -- in other words, sex trafficked? Who knows?

Certainly we should feel compassion for the women being forced into selling sex. Sex trafficking is not okay, and no one should think it is. But what about some compassion for Robert Kraft? It's way too easy to just dismiss the guy as an uncaring rich pervert who took advantage of powerless women. It's much more difficult to see him as a human being trying to meet needs. Do we have to agree with his strategy for meeting those needs (we all have them -- needs are universal)? No. We do not.

Kraft broke the law and he will likely suffer some consequences. He could be sanctioned in some way by the NFL, which could be significant. And his reputation had now been sullied by the press, perhaps permanently.

I am not excusing Kraft, but at the same time I have to go on record as saying I don't generally have a problem with the idea of paying for sex. Maybe if it were legal, we could regulate it and reduce sex trafficking. Jack Kerouac paid for sex on occasion, both in the U.S. and in Mexico. In the latter case with girls we would consider minors! Not okay, in my opinion.

Because paying for sex is illegal in most states, it makes it difficult to assess whether the person (I won't be gender-specific here because either gender can sell their services in this regard) is making a choice or is being forced into the act of selling sex. I am sure that some might say that no prostitute engages in the act freely, that there is always coercion afoot in some manner. I disagree. I can envision a mature women -- or man -- of legal age with many options in life who freely chooses prostitution as a way to earn money. Maybe this is rare. I don't know. Can't you imagine someone who loves the sex and the risk and novelty and the money?

I just can't get my brain around the notion that prostitution is always wrong and so is soliciting it. It's legal in certain areas of Nevada. I wonder how that fact has impacted related crimes, abuse, HIV rates, etc. I suppose that data is out there. For an interesting take on data from a retired call girl, see this Washington Post article.

Just like with the recent Jussie Smollett case, people are jumping on Kraft before they even have the full story. It may be that he should have suspected the women he was soliciting were being trafficked, in which case he was in the wrong. It does surprise me that a billionaire would resort to patronizing a massage parlor when he could easily afford a high-end escort. But maybe he was doing it behind his girlfriend's back, which is not okay either.

Maybe Robert Kraft is a bad guy. I don't know. I rather think it's a bad idea to solicit sex in a massage parlor, especially one in a state where prostitution is illegal, but I'm not going to pile on without more information. Like my linked post above says, compassion doesn't discriminate. There may be suffering on both sides of the equation -- if you care to look for it.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Jack Kerouac and Trump's "wall"



*******WARNING: BLATANTLY POLITICAL POST AHEAD*******

My brain hurts. It's not unusual (Tom Jones reference?) for that to be the case -- lots to make it hurt going on these days -- but in this case it's the realization that I may be a racist xenophobe for thinking that having strategic sections of fence as part of border security is something other than a symbol of hatred for the "other." If well-off white-skinned people were pouring over our northern border I don't think I'd care about a "wall" to keep them out. So it's not about immigration -- it's about keeping certain people "out" based on the color of their skin or some perception about their value as human beings. At least that is one way to frame it.

I'm thinking about this because I'm reading best-selling author Michael Connelly's 2016 novel, The Wrong Side of Goodbye, and just came across this:
Politicians could talk about building walls and changing laws to keep people out, but in the end they are just symbols. Neither would stop the tide any more than the rock jetties at the mouth of the port did. Nothing could stop the tide of hope and desire.
I asked myself -- "symbols of what?" -- and the only thing I could come up with are racism, xenophobia, etc. And having supported "strategic sections of fence where needed," I stand guilty of both, I'm afraid.

Damn you, Michael Connelly, for making me use my brain.

Which brings me to Jack Kerouac. What would he think about President Trump's wall? I have to give Jack credit for experience in this regard, since he crossed the southern border into Mexico and vice versa any number of times when he was "on the road." While there he interacted freely with the very type of person our President purports to keep out -- people on the margins of society like drug users, criminals, the poor, etc. Based on that experience and his own family's history, I might guess Jack would have some empathy for the plight of immigrants and thus not be a supporter of the wall.

But then I think about the older Jack who espoused conservative values and I wonder if he might be a supporter of the wall, or at least -- as I admittedly have been -- a supporter of strategic sections of fence where needed.

Two things are certain. First, we'll never know what Jack Kerouac would think about Trump's wall, and second, the whole situation is too damn complex for sound bites. It involves deep-seated values in tension with each other, and there are no easy answers.

So whether you are a Trump supporter or not, a wall supporter or not, I hope you think about the fact that we are talking about real human beings who are affected by border policies, and that they deserve compassion -- something Jack was big on. And remember that I love you either way you lean because you are a human being first and everything else is secondary. Would that we all started framing our thinking with that in mind!

We are all human beings with the same needs, security being one of them. It's understandable that some human beings see a wall as a necessary strategy to provide them with security. And it's understandable that other human beings think other strategies are better options for meeting that same need. Our needs are not in conflict, just the strategies we espouse to meet those needs. If we could start with that, we might get somewhere. So maybe I shouldn't label myself as a racist xenophobe but, rather, look at my intent when I support border fencing. And I should extend that courtesy to other as well. Are we fence supporters because we hate brown people, or because we value border security as a general construct and think fencing would help with that? But even if the answer is the latter, how do we know there isn't unconscious racism and xenophobia afoot?

And thus my brain hurts.

Those are my ramblings for this Friday morning. The sun is shining and I am sitting here in my warm house ensconced in white privilege and feeling mighty guilty about it.

How's your day going?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Kerouacian reboot Monday



With nothing new to say this morning, I thought it would be a good time to go back through the archives and provide links to some of my favorite posts from the past. There is no rhyme or reason here -- I just scanned back posts and pulled out a few that struck my fancy today. I stopped at 10. Maybe I'll post 10 more in a future post. Happy reading!

Living the answers -- Kerouac style (from November 17, 2008)

Jack Kerouac and the diamondcutter of mercy (from November 29, 2008)

Defending Kerouac (from August 29, 2009)

Interview with Helen Weaver (from November 17, 2009)

Jack Kerouac license plates request (from July 22, 2011, updated May 3, 2018)

Interview with Al Hinkle (from January 31, 2012)

The Making of On The Road: Exclusive Interview with Gerald Nicosia (from May 18, 2012)

Dimetapp dreams: Bottomless from bottom of the mind (from September 20, 2012)

San Francisco Kerouactivities Report (from January 13, 2013)

Kerouacian+ Report from NYC - Redux UPDATE 9-16-15 (from September 15, 2015)






Sunday, February 17, 2019

Jack Kerouac's The Haunted Life premiering as a play in Lowell



Jack Kerouac's long-lost novel, The Haunted Life, will premiere as a play in his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) from March 20 to April 14. You can read more details here. Click here for my curation of that particular Kerouac novel.

I attended the premiere of Beat Generation at MRT in October 2012 and it was well done, so I have no doubt that this will be a quality performance. You can read my review of that play by clicking here. Click here for the MRT website.

See you in Lowell some time....

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Happy Birthday to Jan Kerouac



Jan Kerouac was born this date in 1952, meaning she would have been 67 years old today. I'm guessing that in many people's minds her talent as a writer has been eclipsed by her father, Jack. But one only needs to read Baby Driver or Trainsong (or excerpts from the unpublished Parrot Fever) to realize that she was a formidable author in her own right.

So here's to Jan Kerouac on her birthday, February 16.

Review: Travel Tips for the Timid: Or, What Guidebooks Never Tell by Carolyn Cassady



In 1979, Carolyn Cassady and her daughter, Jami, took a once-in-a-lifetime trip through Europe. The trip was in part financed from Carolyn's recent consulting on the movie, Heart Beat, which was based on an excerpt from her yet-to-be-published 1990 memoir, Off the Road: Twenty Years with Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. After Carolyn's death in 2013, her children -- Cathy, Jami, and John Allen -- discovered a treasure trove of drawings and art work as well as evidence of her prolific writing, including this charming travel memoir. They have undertaken the task of publishing these writings posthumously, beginning with this book, Travel Tips for the Timid: Or, What Guidebooks Never Tell.

Self-described as a "mother-daughter 1979 travel narrative," there is more here than just a written memoir of the two months Carolyn and Jami spent traveling around France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, England, Scotland, Switzerland, and Morocco. There is the expected memoir content that Carolyn wrote upon her return, but also included in this book (I reviewed the Kindle edition) are sections of her actual diary interspersed with relevant sections of the memoir. Juxtaposing after-the-fact memoir details with contemporaneous diary entries intensifies the experience for the reader. The entire diary is included without interruption as an appendix. Finally, the Cassady children created a digitized scrapbook of items Carolyn collected from the trip, including maps, photos, tickets, brochures, postcards, magazine articles, etc. that she came across on their journey. This digitized version is available on-line to purchasers of the book (who are provided with a URL and password). The scrapbook includes 162 pages of collected items and each chapter in the memoir ends with a reference section where the reader can identify the page numbers in the scrapbook that related to specific content in that chapter. In addition to her complete (typed) diary included as an appendix, there are appendices with excerpts from the scrapbook as well as actual photos of her handwritten diary.

The memoir, or travelogue, is illustrated throughout with Carolyn's delightful line drawings. They have a whimsical quality and are alone worth the price of the book. You can see an example of Carolyn's artwork on the book's cover above.

This memoir was written about a trip in 1979 when we didn't have GPS, smartphones, and the Internet, so some of the travails Carolyn and Jami experienced are not as relevant to today's traveler. Nevertheless, many of the travel tips are timeless and they are always delivered in Carolyn's straightforward, authentic style of writing. She is a master of description -- I almost felt like I was traveling along with them -- and while the mood is generally upbeat, she is not afraid to register complaints about plumbing, being sick, travel woes, and the myriad other challenges involved in lengthy travel abroad. Throughout, Carolyn's wit shines through brightly.

The below passage from the book spoke to me:
I looked at the rows of wild clouds, street lights and felt like I was in a scene from Dickens. I'm living in Edinburgh. My garret is like dozens of others. I'm a part of it, not a tourist. An old woman alone, unafraid, and the constable shy. The yellow gaslights, the sloping roofs, the nightlife below. The castle at the end of the row, an old kirk near the block's end. Than God for allowing me to see this!
The last page of the book is a wonderful self-portrait of Carolyn sitting among piles of guidebooks and maps as she prepares for the trip. The caption reads,"Before traveling, by all means BE PREPARED!" This charming little book will definitely help you do that, and I recommend it.



The book's publisher, The Open Book Press, has a webpage describing the book that includes a link to Amazon for purchasing a copy. Click here.

Jack Kerouac in Travel + Leisure

Headline from Feb. 13, 2009 T + L

Click here to read a recent piece on Jack Kerouac in Travel + Leisure. It features a bunch of Kerouac quotes to get you "on the road." 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Jack Kerouac in the comics -- again

Hi and Lois comic strip from 2-15-19; buy the print here

Being a fan of Krazy Kat and Popeye and drawing cartoons himself (click here), Jack Kerouac would likely have appreciated today's Hi and Lois comic strip (see above). This is the second time I've seen an On the Road mention in this particular comic strip (click here for the other). We posted about a Kerouac mention in Zits, another favorite comic of mine, here.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Monday, February 11, 2019

The etymology of Jack Kerouac's character names

James Dean (l) and Professor James Moriarty (r)

We know to a certainty that Jack Kerouac's characters represented real-life people. See, for example, Dave Moore's excellent Character Key to Kerouac's Duluoz Legend. We know, for example, that Dean Moriarty in On the Road represents real-life Neal Cassady. But why did Jack use the pseudonym, Dean Moriarty? Was it, as some have suggested, a combination of James Dean -- representing Neal's rebel side -- and Professor James Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes -- representing Neal's dark side? How did Jack pick Rheinhold Cacoethes for Kenneth Rexroth? Where did Jack get James Watson for John Clellon Holmes? Why did Jack use Sal Paradise for himself? And so on.

There are bits and pieces about this in various Kerouac biographies and strewn about the 'Net, but I am not aware of a one-stop, comprehensive, evidence-based source for such information; it makes sense to me that such a resource would be of interest to Kerouac scholars and fans. If you are aware of such a resource -- even piecemeal attempts -- let us know in a comment. We may start collecting such information and posting it in one spot in a future blog post.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

We have a free books winner!

"Jack in Texas" just posted a comment about the free book giveaway. He is an ex-Mainer who lives in Texas but has a brother and sister in the Pine Tree State.

Close enough! I declare him the winner. You official "current" Mainers were too slow on the draw.

Jack, send your name and address to thebeathandbook@gmail.com so I can mail you the books.

Congratulations!

My "It's not you, it's me" theory may have hit a snag




Not so long ago I held one of my periodic book giveaways, and I bemoaned the outcome: There were no takers. I was saddened that I couldn't even give my book away!

On Thursday last (click here), I offered to give away a copy of my book along with two of Jack Kerouac's -- On the Road and The Dharma Bums. Again -- no takers!

This pokes a hole in my theory that it's about my book being unwanted. Maybe people don't want a free Kerouac book either. Meaning it's not me, it's him. Or, maybe my blog isn't read much (although there were 12,351 pageviews last month). Or maybe there really isn't another Kerouac fan in Maine (see the above post for an explanation of that statement).

There really are no strings attached when I give a book away. The first Mainer to comment on Thursday's post gets a free copy of my book -- The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions -- along with the books it references: On the Road and The Dharma Bums. It's at least a $37 value not counting shipping (which is also on me).

Come on, Kerouac fans. Pass the word to your Maine friends and loved ones! I just want to spread the gospel of St. Jack.

Something good will come out of this yet!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Happy Birthday to Neal Cassady and my friend, Keith




It's February 8, which can only mean one thing: It's Neal Cassady's birthday. Neal was born this date in 1926, so he would have been 93 years old today.

Regular readers of The Daily Beat need no introduction to Neal Cassady or an explanation of his connection to Kerouac. What you may not know is that my own Neal Cassady, the person who introduced me to Kerouac in the first place, also celebrates a birthday today.

So Happy Birthday to Neal and Keith, who, to me, are both important Beat muses.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Thursday in Kerouac-land and it's free book day




Here we are. Thursday in Kerouac-land, Maine. It snowed again. I shoveled the driveway/breezeway, front sidewalk & steps, pathways every which way, and the back deck -- again.

Why do I call this Kerouac-land? Because sometimes I feel very, very alone with my Kerouac obsession here in central Maine. In fact, I only know of one other person in the whole state who is Kerouac fan enough to attend Lowell Celebrates Kerouac (not counting Crystal, who I wouldn't call a Kerouac fan as much as a tolerant mate), and I haven't seen or heard from him in years. So I'm trying to speak reality into existence by calling this Kerouac-land.

Now, it's a big state geographically speaking but that only accounts for about 1.3 million people.

So I guess you could call me "one in a million."

But I'm not giving up until every single person in Maine has read On the Road and The Dharma Bums.

To wit, if a Mainer (defined as someone currently living in Maine) responds to this post, I will send the first such poster a copy of On the Road and The Dharma Bums as well as my companion reader to both, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions (signed, of course). I will need your name and street address.

And don't post as "Anonymous" or it's likely your post will get spam filtered. And you have to put the word "Maine" and the phrase "free books" in your post to make sure I don't think it's a bot.

Anyway, how's that for a Kerouacian deal? Three free books just for posting a comment. No strings attached except paying it forward somehow (and reading the books!).

Make it so, Number One.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Happy Birthday to William S. Burroughs



William S. Burroughs, one third of the Beat triumvirate, was born this date in 1914. He would have been 105 years old today.

Happy Birthday, Bill. In your honor, we will read some of your poetry today -- click here.

Jack Kerouac and mental health

Last night I completed another shift as a crisis counselor for Crisis Text Line, and mental health is on my mind this morning. There's a lot pain out there. Fortunately, there are resources available for people experiencing mental health issues.

Long-time readers of The Daily Beat know that I experienced my own mental health crisis in 2013 and I wrote about it on a couple of occasions. I don't want to make this about me by revisiting the details in this post. If you're interested, such details can be found here and here.

It's very typical for people with mental health issues to hear that they need to "get on with it," "toughen up," "deal with it," and so on. If a friend told you they had cancer, would you tell them to just toughen up and deal with it? I don't think so. The last thing someone with mental health issues needs is such uninformed (and often unsolicited) advice. What they need is to be heard and for others to have empathy for the difficult situation in which they find themselves; and, of course, they may need professional services.

But, you ask, what does this have to do with Jack Kerouac? As I detailed in those past posts, Jack Kerouac was no stranger to mental health issues. The Navy once diagnosed him with dementia praecox (a no longer used psychiatric diagnosis), and he faced mental health issues as described in Big Sur. In The Dharma Bums, he writes about Rosie Buchanan (real-life Natalie Jackson) and her suicide. Another member of the Beat triumvirate, Allen Ginsberg, spent time in a psychiatric hospital. There's more, but the connections are clear.

I say all of the above to get to this: if you or someone you care about is facing mental health issues, there are steps you can take to get help. For example, anyone in crisis can text Crisis Text Line at 741741 and have a conversation (all by text) with a trained volunteer crisis counselor. There is a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to call (1-800-273-8255). Both are free 24/7 services. There's the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and resources they recommend (click here). And so on. Whatever issue(s) you might be facing, there are resources out there.

Remember that you are valuable and you are enough. And that help is available. Spread the word.






Monday, February 4, 2019

We remember Neal Cassady, husband and father



Today is the date of Neal Cassady's death in 1968. We have opined on or around this date in honor of Neal on a number of occasions here on The Daily Beat in the past (see links below). On this particular occasion, I have a different take to offer. Instead of only remembering Neal for being Jack Kerouac's muse and for all the antics typically associated with him, let's also remember that he was a husband and a father, and while his wife, Carolyn has passed on, Neal has several living children for whom today's date has the special significance we can all imagine is experienced on such an anniversary.

So, to Neal's children, on this anniversary, we extend our condolences on the loss of your dad.

Rest in peace, Mr. Cassady.


Past posts on this subject:
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2009

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums summarized in 34 sentences



If you've been following along, you know we recently finished summarizing Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums in one sentence per chapter. That project started on December 19, 2019; we accomplished approximately one chapter per day. Now that we're finished, I thought it would be interesting to string all those sentences together in one post, which in effect would summarize The Dharma Bums in 34 sentences. To wit, below are all 34 sentences in sequence. NOTE: You will need to click on "Read more" to access all the chapters.

Chapter 1
After a long journey from Mexico, our narrator, Ray, hops a freight out of Los Angeles on the way to San Francisco, meeting a thin old little bum -- who carried and read daily a prayer by Saint Teresa -- who he shares his food and wine with before they go their separate ways in Santa Barbara after which Ray camps alone by the ocean in the sand at the foot of a cliff and enjoys some hot food, all the while contemplating the void from a Buddhist perspective.

Chapter 2
After hitchhiking to San Francisco courtesy of a beautiful darling young blonde in a cinnamon-red Lincoln Mercury, Ray Smith meets the number one Dharma Bum, Japhy Ryder, then goes out to a bar with a bunch of poets preparing for a reading at the Gallery Six, exchanges Zen koans with Japhy, takes up a collection for wine to pass around at the reading -- an event that signaled the birth of the San Francisco poetry Renaissance -- and afterwards goes out for Chinese food with the poets, anticipating everything he has to learn from Japhy including how to handle girls.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Jack Kerouac: Recycler



Jack Kerouac was a prolific writer. He left us over 30 books (prose and poetry), hundreds of letters, many journals, and whatever lurks in the estate archives that is yet to see the public light of day. Given that, it is no wonder that similar phrases appear more than once. I don't see this as a problem whatsoever, just something to note. You can't plagiarize yourself (well, technically it is possible from an academic standpoint). I prefer to think of it as "recycling." In other words, Jack was green before it was cool. Indeed, the Day 71 Kerouaction in my book -- The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions -- is on that very topic. Click here for that entry.

This is neither the time nor place for an exhaustive list of recycled Kerouacian phrases, but I will provide one example that struck me for the first time in my recent effort to get you to read The Dharma Bums along with me (check the archives on the right for all 34 chapters summarized in one sentence).

If you ever receive an e-mail from me, you will see that my signature includes this line from the very end of Big Sur (p. 216 in my 1992 Penguin Books edition):
Something good will come out of all things yet.

I love the optimism of this line. As I was re-reading The Dharma Bums in order to complete my recent one-sentence chapter summary project started on December 19, 2018, I happened on this sentence near the very end of Chapter 29 (p. 210 in my 1976 Penguin Books edition):
I know something good's gonna come out of all this!

I thought: "That's from Big Sur!" Not exactly, of course, but the similarities are axiomatic. For context, The Dharma Bums excerpt is spoken by Japhy Ryder. The Big Sur excerpt is the narrator, Jack Duluoz, speaking. Written in 1957 and 1961 respectively, it is easy to see which work borrowed from the other.

What recycling have you noticed in Jack's works?

Friday, February 1, 2019

Published in Empty Mirror!

Empty Mirror, an excellent on-line literary magazine, published my essay -- "Why Kerouac?" -- in today's (February 1) edition.

Check it out by clicking here.