Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What is a beat?

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"

~Jack Kerouac, On The Road

The above is one of Kerouac's most oft-quoted passages. It's the subject of Day 23 (not deliberately but now that I think of it, the Jim Carrey movie has a point about the mystical qualities of that number) in my book, The Beat Handbook. But what else can be said about beats?

-Beats write (that's why my book has many writing assignments and space to write)
-Beats exude passion about life (they spontaneously break into song and dance in public places)
-Beats live green (they recycle and reuse)
-Beats barter (they eschew the use of money to get things)
-Beats live simply and cheaply (they hitchhike)
-Beats embrace spirituality (they meditate)
-Beats listen to music (they never miss a live music event)
-Beats live spontaneously (they live in the now)
-Beats party (they use any excuse to assemble food, drink, and friends)
-Beats go go go (they always seek the next horizon)

Beats do all of this and more. For 100 examples, get my book! It answers the question, "What would Jack Kerouac do?"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Book trilogy

I just ordered a copy of The Dharma Bums and On The Road for a friend. I will be presenting them to him along with a copy of The Beat Handbook. He's paying for them - I'm just doing the grunt work. He's never read any Kerouac and wants to be able to connect with my book.

Of course, the versions of Kerouac's books I am providing him are not the exact versions I used. Having those versions along with my book would be the complete package: the reader would be able to bounce back and forth between Kerouac's books and my book to identify passages I reference.

So, in case you want to own the trilogy, below are the covers of the versions of The Dharma Bums and On The Road (both 1976 copyrights) that I used in writing The Beat Handbook. Any version of Kerouac's two books will do, but having the below versions is the ultimate way to play "treasure hunt" with my book.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Book signing news

As a new author, and a self-published one at that, marketing my book is a learning experience for me. Book signings seem to be a common marketing venture, yet I know nothing about the business side of arranging one. Undaunted by my lack of prior knowledge, it seemed a good idea to visit a local bookstore and introduce myself and ask if they support local authors, perhaps via a book signing.

I started with Devaney Doak & Garrett at 193 Broadway in Farmington, Maine, home of my employer, University of Maine Farmington. I talked with the owner, Kenny. Without much convincing on my part (if any), he agreed to hold a signing! I think the fact that I teach at the local university was a help.

Details remain to be worked out because I do not have copies yet (and my book is not available yet for wholesale purchase by a bookstore), but it looks like a Thursday evening in late October or early November is going to happen. I would read for about 20 minutes and then sign copies (hopefully!) for customers.

I'll keep you posted. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Elegy for Paul N.

Paul. Dead.
Not the one of rumored deaths and mystical gossip, but
the hard-boiled egg-eating champeen
who yelled at god (don't we all in our own way?),
"Love me, hate me, kill me, anything. Just let me know it."
Like lieutenant day-un
screaming from the crow's nest in an atheist-eliminating sea squall
"You call this a storm?"
But you gotta know movies
And love a character cuts off parking meter heads
sings plastic jesus pickin' the banjer
calls his mom byes her first name
A true beat character
Oh but there is too much to tell
about just one role, one move-ie
Let alone one LIFE.
I'll be watching you and Dragline soon
And likely cry for doing so

Friday, September 26, 2008

Speaking of gravesite visits

Yesterday's posting reminded me that I have now visited the graves of three famous authors (Jack Kerouac, Robert Frost, Edwin Arlington Robinson). It has become a routine. I visit the grave with a bottle of Bushmills and some of their writing. While there, I read - out loud - some my favorite passages and drink a shot in their honor.

Here I am at Robert Frost's grave in Bennington, VT.

Visit your favorite authors' graves. It's a beat thing to do!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!

The annual hometown tribute to Jack Kerouac will be taking place Oct. 2-5. You can find details at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!.

Yes, I'll be there. C & I already have hotel reservations. We'll be partaking of festivities (the Saturday afternoon pub crawl looks very beat) throughout the weekend, but the main attraction is that I am leaving a copy of The Beat Handbook at Jack's grave. When I visited his grave in late 2005, I met a couple at the gravesite. They were on their honeymoon. The husband was writing a book and mentioned that he was going to leave one there when he published it. I vowed to do the same and now it is time to adhere to my vow.

The really interesting news is that I have been in contact with a reporter from the Lowell Sun newspaper and she expressed an interest in meeting me at the grave for a story. Talk about P.R.!

I also would like to contact a Lowell bookstore about a signing, but I still don't know if I'll have copies by then.

Here's a picture of me from my first pilgrimage to the gravesite:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"So you'd like to . . ." guides on Amazon

Until recently I had not known about the "So you'd like to . . ." guides on Amazon. It allows Amazon users to create "how-to" advice, including links to products (Amazon is so smart!).

I created one last night titled, "So you'd like to . . . be a beat." Check it out on Amazon. Yes, it's shameless self-promotion.

While you're there, perhaps the beat writer in you will feel the muse and you'll create your own guide. We've all got something important and interesting to teach!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Update on The Beat Handbook

Just now I noticed that - finally - my Amazon details page has been populated with the Editorial Description and About the Author sections, as well as the Search Inside feature. It is really weirding me out to be able to Search Inside my own book on Amazon! In a good way . . . .

Oh, by they way, as of this posting 3 books have sold on-line (I assume at Amazon). Thanks C, K, and . . . ?

I received my "complimentary copy" from BookSurge yesterday (it had been sitting at the post office since Saturday but I was too beat Saturday morning to get there in time). The only difference from my "proof copy" is that this one doesn't say "Proof" on the last inside page.

C and I made definite plans to go to Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! the weekend of Oct. 3. I'm going to leave a book at Kerouac's grave and try to stir up some publicity. Maybe even sell a few books if my copies come in time. I invited the Kerouac reporter from the Lowell Sun to meet me at the grave, and she said she would! How cool is that?

I'm printing bookmarks myself. Got quotes of 25 cents a piece and said fuggedaboutit. A ream of cardstock is only 5 bucks. Add in some ink and electricity and labor (I have scissors blisters), and I can make them for next-to-nothing.

If you want some bookmarks, e-mail me with your request and a snail mail addy. I'll send you enough for your own bookmarking purposes in return for your promise to put the extras I send inside all the Kerouac books at libraries and bookstores in your area. Deal?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Beat Karma

That's my cat, Karma, in his favorite pose (staring at a picture of The Beat Handbook cover that Crystal framed for me). He's a real beat, as evidenced by his sleeping habits (among other things).

Karma (my cat) is the subject of the Day 72 Kerouaction in The Beat Handbook. The entry is titled, "On Cats."

One of my favorite pictures of Jack is on a little photo/essay book titled, The Kerouac We Knew. The cover photo is of Jack in his trademark "lumberjack" shirt holding a cat in his arms.

Kerouac loved cats. I love cats. What more needs to be said?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My dad's Studebaker

This is a picture of my dad's 1948 Studebaker convertible. I found it going through a box of old pictures. He still had that car when I was almost old enough to drive, and was it ever showing its age! My mom had even hand-painted the whole thing in yellow - with a paint brush (I remember helping).

I was adamantly opposed to learning to drive with it or being relegated to driving it once I got a license. How embarrassing to drive such an old "clunker"! To my great relief, it died for good a year or so before I was 16. My fears were unfounded (as all fears are - well, they're founded, but on the gossamer wings of thought and time - AH! never mind because it's a whole other posting).

And yet, looking at the picture today and thinking about it in retrospect, all I can think is "WHAT A BEAT CAR!" No wonder my dad couldn't understand my teenage disdain for what he saw as a really hip car.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Beat Handbook is on Amazon!

My first book, The Beat Handbook, is now available on Amazon! Some information (e.g., description) has yet to be populated into the product details page. That should happen soon - it's a process. Also, for now the only way someone can find my book by searching is to type in the entire title - The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions - or my name as follows: Rick Dale, D.Ed.

I had no input into the latter, but hope to figure out how to change things so searching for "The Beat Handbook" or "Rick Dale" will bring up my book. I'm sure it's a simple fix - it's just one I haven't figured out. As a first-time author, this is all new to me and it's an exciting learning experience.

By the way, if you want to go directly to the Amazon page for my book, here is the link: The Beat Handbook. The links on my website for buying the book at Amazon aren't hot yet, but that should happen in a couple of days.

Patience is something I'm (re)learning through this process!