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?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Harry Potter as Allen Ginsberg?

Rumor has it that Daniel Radcliffe is slated to play Allen Ginsberg in an upcoming film. Click here for the story.

"I don't think so, Tim."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 91 Kerouaction: On Picking Up Hitchhikers

The above passage from On The Road inspired Day 91 in The Beat Handbook.

It's beat to hitchhike, and it's also beat to pick up hitchhikers. When you do, ask them for gas money. If they don't have gas money, then what? An old 60s saying comes to mind: "Ass, gas, or grass: Nobody rides for free." I suppose in a pinch you could settle for a good story.

Speaking of pinches, I talked to a young man today who confirmed that hitchhiking is definitely illegal in Massachusetts. He knew this from personal experience, if you know what I mean.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Occupy Movement embraces Jack Kerouac

Okay, that's a misleading blog post title, but I'm all about traffic to my blog.

That said, click here to read an article in the Irish Independent about the Occupy movement. It includes a mention of a Jack Kerouac quote seen at Occupy Dame Street. Dame Street is a major street in Dublin that is home to several banks as well as Trinity College, where legend has it that the bell in the arch rings whenever a virgin passes under it (it hasn't rung in over 200 years).

Now, why didn't I think of putting that Jack quote on a sign for Occupy Augusta?

Day 90 Kerouaction: On Cheap Travel

One might suspect that the entry in The Beat Handbook inspired by the above passage from On The Road would focus on Dean's choice of places to make it with a waitress he met in a luncheonette. Instead, Day 90, "On Cheap Travel," points out that we still have services that put together cars that need to be somewhere and drivers willing to get them there. Just Google "driveaway" and you'll find info on becoming a "driver" for one of these companies. You get a car with a full tank of gas and pay all the rest of the expenses in getting it from Point A to Point B. Just like Sal and Dean. Pick up some hitchhikers along the way and ask for gas money, sleep in the car, pack a bunch of salami sandwiches, and go go go on the cheap. Yass, yass . . . .

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jack Kerouac's estate

Click here for an interesting piece on what's become of Jack Kerouac's estate. I don't know how accurate this article is, but I do know from personal experience that there is tension when Gerald Nicosia hangs around at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac events. Said tension was palpable (have you ever heard the saying, "As welcome as a skunk at a garden party"?), and when I asked about it, I got vague acknowledgments but no details. Perhaps this article sheds some light.

Which reminds me to remind you to have a will, make sure it's legal & current, keep the original somewhere safe & accessible, and provide copies to those it affects.

Note to self: Take your own advice.

Full text of On The Road plus

This site is probably illegal as Hell, but Terebess Asia Online does include the full text of On The Road and a few other Kerouac works.

Day 89 Kerouaction: On Sleep

The above passage from On The Road inspired Day 89 in The Beat Handbook, titled, "On Sleep."

A student asked his master, "What is enlightenment?"

The master replied, "When hungry, eat; when tired, sleep."

In this passage, Jack's (Sal's) behavior embodies this Zen principle.

Trivia question: How many times does Jack mention sleep or sleeping in On The Road?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kerouac's lost novel published

Jack's first and unpublished novel, The Sea is My Brother, is now available for the first time. Click here to buy it, although if you're not a Kerouac fan, you might want to think twice. I understand that it's fairly unremarkable and only of interest to those of use who are Kerouac-obsessed.

P.S. I told you about this in March 2009.

Day 88 Kerouaction: On Dress

The Beat Handbook's Day 88 entry, "On Dress," was inspired by the above passage from On The Road.

Want to dress beat? Then it's jeans and T-shirts. Can you imagine a time when they were considered "rebellious"? Rebellious things often become mainstream after a time, but no matter because jeans and T-shirts are comfortable, low-maintenance, and versatile, all important characteristics for a beat wardrobe. Add some plaid flannel shirts, Carhartt or Dickies work pants, and black railyard shoes and you'll have a fairly complete beat wardrobe.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shameless self-promotion

It's that time of year when shameless self-promotion is especially effective and more frequently forgiven. Why? Because it's gift-giving season, and what better gift is there than a book? So, figure out how many people on your gift list would appreciate a Kerouac-inspired lilt, click here, and order the desired number of copies. Amazon will even gift-wrap them and send them directly to your giftees. Simple as a snap. No, it's not buying local, but it puts huge royalties (cough!) in my pocket, and I'm as local as you can get, especially if you live in Pennsylvania or Maine.

If you want to give several books, combine my book with The Dharma Bums and On The Road, for which it is a companion reader. You'll vault to the top of your Kerouac-obsessed friends' A-lists!

Click. Click. Click. Done.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 87 Kerouaction: On Kidney Function

Day 87 in The Beat Handbook was inspired by the above passage from On The Road.

Titled, "On Kidney Function," this entry extracts several beat actions from a short scenario, including the kinds of restaurant bathrooms to seek out (and why) as well as the possibilities of finding entertainment in the simplest situations.

Jack Kerouac's actual Navy medical report

If you haven't seen it before, click here to see Jack's actual Navy medical report from May 14, 1943.

Very interesting.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 86 Kerouaction: On "The Road"

Here it is, the passage from On The Road that inspired Day 86 in The Beat Handbook!

What's the point? The road is symbolic of action, mindfully experiencing what is. But don't wish you were Dean. Or Sal. Or even my hero from the TV show, Then Came Bronson. Be them. Take off on an adventure right now. No plan. No supplies. Just go go go. See where you end up!

Jerry Seinfeld and Jack Kerouac

I knew I liked Jerry Seinfeld for some reason. Click here for an interesting comparison between him and our hero, Jack Kerouac.

By the way, this is not the first time I've mentioned Seinfeld here on The Daily Beat. For example:

November 23, 2008
April 3, 2011

These pretzels are making me thirsty!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 85 Kerouaction: On IT

The above passage from On The Road inspired Day 85 in The Beat Handbook, titled, "On IT."

If you get what IT is, you know that words written about it are useless.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 84 Kerouaction: On Unconditional Love

We're winding down with our series of posts showing which passages from The Dharma Bums and On The Road inspired the 100 entries in The Beat Handbook. Only 15 to go.

The above passage inspired Day 84, titled, "On Unconditional Love." In it, I suggest doing some research on what Carl Rogers said about sunsets, or what Krishnamurti had to say about measuring love and thereby destroying it. Find someone who lets you be who you are, and do the same. I'm not suggesting being a doormat, or ignoring your own needs, but I am suggesting that we all realize that no one makes us happy or sad, that love is more than a feeling, that commitment really does mean taking the good with the bad (because we all have both), and that allowing your partner to be who they are and vice versa is pretty damn important. No, I wouldn't be thrilled if Crystal sauntered in at 3 AM with a bunch of loud, drunk friends and proceeded to talk and drink till dawn. But I hope I would empathize with how that behavior met important needs of hers, for connection and fun and what-have-you. If I didn't want to join in, and I needed my sleep, there's always the camper and my nice warm sleeping bag. Jack would approve.

Be who you are! The world needs you to do that.

Beatitude by Larry Closs

I just received a copy of Beatitude by Larry Closs for review, so it's in the reading queue and I will give you my take on it in a future post.

In the meantime, however, I will say that I read the first few pages and it's very engaging. The book includes two previously unpublished Ginsberg poems, and David Amram commented, "A daring, honest writer with a gritty urban flair." So, you might not want to wait for my review and pick up a few copies now to store away as a holiday gift for your beat friends.

I'm sure it's on Amazon, or click here for the actual publisher's website.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Beat Hotel

Click here for trailer.

Famous authors' rejection letters

Click here for an interesting NPR story about famous authors' rejection letters. When you get to Jack's section, there is no visual example, but if you click on the link you can hear part of his On The Road rejection letter read aloud.

The lesson? Keep writing and ignore rejections as well as the poo-poo advice from your "friends" and relatives.

Door Wide Open by Jack Kerouac & Joyce Johnson

This is what I'm currently reading, and I recommend it highly if you are a Kerouac fan. It's a fascinating look at a beat love affair via the letters between Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson, interspersed with commentary by the latter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 83 Kerouaction: On Time

Day 83 in The Beat Handbook was inspired by the above passage from On The Road. I remember asking my great friend Keith what time it was and him answering, "Now." Well, course. It is always "now." The past and the future are mental illusions, and greatly responsible for suffering (guilt over the past, anxiety over the future).

So if you want to call on a friend, but it's 2 AM, so what? Do it. Don't let an artificial construct like time keep you from being fully alive and acting on your gut instincts. Hungry for pancakes but it's dinner time? Have pancakes. Sleepy but it's high noon? Sleep. And so on. I think you get the point: Don't let the clock run your life.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 82 Kerouaction: On Greeting the Morning

Day 82 in The Beat Handbook was inspired by the above passage from On The Road, in which Dean demonstrates the proper way to greet the morning: nude and standing in front of your window. Have you tried it? If so, we look forward to hearing about the experience. If not, why not? What's holding you back? Conformity? Fear? Conditioning?

Break free! Tomorrow morning, stand naked in front of your window - drapes and blinds wide open - for a few minutes and greet the morning skyclad (my favorite Wiccan word)! Trust me - you'll reap emotional benefits all day long.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Interview: Kerouac's Dog Magazine

A while ago I discovered a beat little magazine called "Kerouac's Dog." They agreed to an e-mail interview, and here it is. Click here to visit their website.

The Beat Handbook: Kerouac's Dog is certainly an interesting name for a magazine (especially since Jack was more of a "cat person"). What can you tell our readers about the name's origin?

Kerouac's Dog Magazine: Ah yes, we get asked this all the time. The name is inspired by a dog called Potschky, owned by one of Kerouac’s contemporaries, Lucien Carr. Potschky chewed and savaged the end of Kerouac’s typed manuscript for On the Road, after Kerouac and his wife Joan Haverty moved into Carr’s apartment on 21st Street, off Seventh Avenue, in 1950.

TBH: You have a couple of interviews posted at the website and we don't want to cover the same territory. What's happened of note since the date of the last interview (November 2010)?

KDM: Well after the success of Issue 1 'Freedom'; we got to work straight away on Issue 2 'Life' - which went down a storm. Issue 3 'Truth' is about to go out, and we're already working on the final issue of the year. The response we've had has been incredible, and the sheer talent of work is overwhelming. We're also working on a brand new website that will hopefully be more of a platform for some of the awesome work we've had, and a spotlight and springboard for the talented writers, artists and photographers we've had the pleasure to work with.

TBH: How did your decision to go with a printed magazine in this Internet age relate to your magazine's topic, Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation?

KDM: Well we're not out-and-out Beatniks, we're massively inspired by Kerouac and what he stood for, so we're happy to tilt our hat to the guy. I think we wanted to pay homage to the philosophy of the Beat Generation and to underground, and free press; giving people the opportunity to see the breathings of their creative hearts in a creative, uncensored publication.

TBH: How much current writing aligns with your magazine's vision? Do you get more acceptable submissions than you have space to handle?

KDM: As we said earlier, we're not die-hard Beatniks, we have our own vision and ethos, but Kerouac's not bad for drawing inspiration! But if the work we receive resonates, and 'speaks' to us, and touches our soul, and fits in with the theme for each issue, then we'll do our best to include it. We have to turn a lot of people away for each issue, simply because of size. We're already aiming at 300 pages for Issue 4 - but having said that, we don't deal in absolutes, so more than happy to reconsider work for future issues.

TBH: How much do you think the upcoming On The Road movie will increase interest in Kerouac and the Beats?

KDM: It could go either way - but judging by the massive global following Kerouac and the Beats still have today, I think it will reignite the passion for Kerouac and bring it more mainstream. It's a shame in one way, but if it's opening more and more people up to some of the awesome literature of that period, then it can't be a bad thing. There's still a part of me that thinks that some books simply should stay as the written word.

TBH: Your magazine is priced in £ but many of our readers are in the U.S. Does PayPal handle that issue pretty transparently for the buyer?

KDM: Surely, as far as we know Paypal handles other currencies pretty seamlessly. We are hoping to offer other payment methods like Direct Debits and Standing Orders - especially when we set up Subscriptions in the not-to-distant future.

TBH: How many issues of KDM are you shooting for in 2011?

KDM: We really wanna push things as much as we can - but want quality rather than quantity - each issue is so rich and in-depth, I think we'd be doing the incredible content an injustice if we went for more than 4 issues a year. We may do more, but we want readers to really be able to savour each issue.

TBH: Who do you consider to be "beat writers" today?

KDM: Some of the contributions we've had are certainly form the brave new steps to a new Beat Generation. ;)

TBH: Do you have any "inside advice" for authors looking to get published in KDM?

KDM: Be creative, be inspiring and blow us away.

TBH: Last question: What do you think Jack would say about Kerouac's Dog Magazine?

KDM: He'd either love it, or totally shoot us down. We like to think he'd chuckle and give us a good pat on the back for providing a platform for free, creative expression.

Day 81 Kerouaction: On Making Do

The above passage from On The Road inspired Day 81 in The Beat Handbook, titled, "On Making Do."

Jack would fit right in with our friends in the Occupy Wall Street camps. They are "making do" as part of a movement (a righteous movement, in my opinion), whereas Jack was "making do" as part of living beat. And perhaps out of necessity.

In any case, picking up butts and smoking them (or the tobacco they contain) is certainly a "green" thing to do. And, it's good practice for your immune system. Use it or lose it, as they say.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 80 Kerouaction: On Improvisation

Day 80 in The Beat Handbook is titled, "On Improvisation." It references the above passage from On The Road.

At the heart of beat travel is "traveling light," which reminds me of a song I wrote called exactly that.


Outside the rain is falling
There's dampness in my soul
I can hear the freight train calling
But it's too cold to go

I got enough to eat and a place to sleep
I can carry all I own
'Cause I'm travelin' light, travelin' light
Along life's weary road
People look at me and all they can see
Is a poor old worn out soul
But I'm travelin' light, travelin' light
Along life's weary road

Well once I tried a workin'
But I never was on time
A time clock and a foreman'
Just ain't no friends of mine

I wrote the above in the 80s, way before my Kerouac obsession. Hmmmm . . . .

Anyway, improvisation is an important skill in traveling light, as evidenced by the nightclub singer using an upside down iron in a hotel room to heat up a can or pork and beans. Heat is heat. Your car's engine block will heat up a can of pork and beans, too, but make sure you poke some holes in it (the can, not your engine block), or you might get a big surprise when you open your hood to dine.

Now I'm hungry. Talk to you later . . . .

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wanderlust: This is a cool site!

Click here to explore Jack's travels in On The Road. Cool site, although they need to add a lot to the Kerouac route.

The last bar Jack Kerouac drank in?

Click here to read about The Flamingo Sports Bar in St. Petersburg, FL, whose owners claim is the last bar Jack Kerouac took a drink in.

Day 79 Kerouaction: On Energy Conservation

Day 79 in The Beat Handbook was inspired by the above passage from On The Road.

Have you noticed that living beat often correlates with living green? To wit, Dean was saving gas money by driving with the engine turned off. At the same time, it may have been a little scary, and that's another good thing to do at least once a day: scare yourself. That way you know you're still alive.

What have you done today that scared you? It's not too late. Sing in public. Call your ex-spouse. Run around the house naked. Dress funny and go to the store. Walk up to complete strangers and ask them who they're voting for in the next election. There's just no dearth of scary things to do, and they don't have to be life-threatening.

Conserve gasoline by driving downhill with the engine off and make sure to scare yourself daily. Jack would approve.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 78 Kerouaction: On Gas Money and Birthday Presents

Day 78 in The Beat Handbook is titled, "On Gas Money and Birthday Presents." It was inspired by the above passage from On The Road.

The Kerouaction here is fairly self-evident: the need for gas when you're on the road trumps sentimentality. Pawning something, anything, is preferable to being placebound, even if that something is a present from someone. You'll still have the memory of the present, and isn't it the thought that counts? Besides, as a Texas preacher once told me, "Things can be replaced. People can't."

And that ain't no Harvard lie.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

David Amram: OCCUPY!

Kudos to original beat David Amram for supporting the Occupy movement. Thought you'd like to read a little about his venture with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, et al. last night. Click here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Every year since beginning this blog, I've posted something on (or about) October 21, the anniversary of Jack Kerouac's death. Jack died 42 years ago today. Were he still alive, he'd be 89.

Click here for past posts on this topic.

RIP, Jack. You live on in your words.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 77 Kerouaction: On Travel Rest

Day 77 in The Beat Handbook was inspired by the above passage from On The Road. The entry is titled, "On Travel Rest."

If you get tired on the road, all you need to do when you get tired is pull over and sleep. It doesn't matter where you happen to be when it's time to sleep - just do it. Who needs a motel, bed, WiFi in the room, bathroom, and all the rest? It's the cheap way to travel and it's the beat way. Remember, all you need is "gas, oil, cigarettes, and food." And a car, of course, which will serve you well as a place to sleep along the way.

Go go go!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 76 Kerouaction: On Nudity

Today's Kerouaction is brought to you by the above passage from On The Road, which inspired Day 76 in The Beat Handbook, titled "On Nudity."

Did you notice that I didn't use a comma before "On Nudity"? I chose not to, even though one is probably called for. Did you notice that I ended that last sentence with a preposition even though it's considered improper? I am flaunting convention, just like Dean did by running around the car naked near Ozona.

The beats weren't shy about nudity. Ginsburg often took off his clothes in public. It's an expression of freedom, and it's good for the soul. We are way too uptight about our bodies, and it's all cultural conditioning.

What's stopping you from taking off all of your clothes right now and running around naked?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 75 Kerouaction: On Trip Necessities

Day 75 in The Beat Handbook, titled "On Trip Necessities," was inspired by the above passage from On The Road. For a change of pace, below is the actual entry from my book.

Day 75
Today’s Kerouaction: On Trip Necessities

Far be it from me to suggest stealing out of necessity, but of course that would certainly be a beat thing to do. Rather, the "legal" discernable Kerouaction is that little is needed for a trip cross country: gas and oil for the car, bread and cheese for the body, and cigarettes for the psyche. Beyond that, good company is in order if you can swing it. So gas up the clunker, stock up with a loaf of bread and a jar of Cheez Whiz, grab a carton of cigarettes and take off for the other coast. Nothing but those things, please. No suitcase full of clothes. No toiletries. No map. No cell phone. Just food, gas, cigarettes. See what you can do without! That is a beat thing to do. And it’s probably illegal as Hell, too, if you don’t carry I.D.[73] and enough money to keep you from being labeled a "vagrant." The main thing is spontaneity and passion: decide and then go go go.

Suggested Kerouactivity:
Even if you are not going to take off right away, buy yourself a jar of Cheez Whiz and store it away for that day when you finally heed the advice contained herein. Then all you need to do is buy bread and cigarettes, gas up and go go go. [74]

[73] Especially ID approved by "Homeland Security." What country do we live in? I need a reminder.
[74] FYI, unopened Cheez Whiz will stay good way beyond your lifespan, so no worries about it going bad if you procrastinate heading out on the road.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 74 Kerouaction: On Games

The above passage from On The Road inspired Day 74 in The Beat Handbook, titled, "On Games."

What does it take to have fun? Imagination. If you can throw it, kick it, climb it, or jump over it, you the have the making of a game.

I rather think the beats would have dug footbag. You might call it Hacky Sack, but that is like calling all facial tissue Kleenex and all copying Xeroxing.

Anyway, footbag was invented in 1972 by by John Stalberger and Mike Marshall of Oregon City, Oregon. It requires nothing but a footbag, some space, and a human or two (one is sufficient, as you can play with yourself). Alcohol helps, too, but it's not necessary. We stand in a circle and just pass the footbag around, seeing if we can score a "hack" (everyone gets to pass the footbag at least once without it hitting the ground). No hands allowed. We had an epic session in Joshua Tree N.P. in February 2006 involving Bushmills, but that is a whole other blog post.

If you invent a beat game, stay light on rules. Rules are for squares.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 73 Kerouaction: On Visions and Playing the Horses

Day 73 in The Beat Handbook is titled, "On Visions and Playing the Horses." It was inspired by the above passage from On The Road.

This is a very important passage to examine. Trust your gut. When that still small voice in your head speaks, listen up! It's probably coming from a very wise place and is worth considering. In Jack's (Sal's) case, a horse's name reminded him of his father, so he bet on it - and won! Everything is connected, we're all connected, learning is about connections, decisions are based on connections. Connections are how we make sense of the world, and we are sense-making creatures.

Look for connections. They're telling you something.

For example, this post is about Day 73 in my book. What significance does the number 73 have? Make a connection. What strikes me is that 1973 is the year I graduated from high school. That brings up a big regret: that I let societal conditioning influence my life trajectory. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have gone to college right out of high school. Rather, I would have slung a canvas rucksack on my back and hitchhiked across the country. I know, hindsight is 20/20. Nevertheless, I'm convinced that we regret more those things we didn't do than the things we did. So, if your heart is speaking about something you need to do, do it. Even if it turns out to be an epic failure, at least you acted, and if nothing else, you won't have to regret not having tried. As John Greenleaf Whittier instructed us in "Maud Muller":

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

Now . . . go bet on that horse.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 72 Kerouaction: On Cats

Day 72 in The Beat Handbook was inspired by the above passage from On The Road.

Jack Kerouac loved cats. His angst at the death of his pet cat, Tyke, was the subject of several pages in Big Sur. A famous picture of Jack shows him flannel-shirt clad and holding a cat (it adorns an excellent book, The Kerouac We Knew by John Montgomery).

Being a cat lover myself (and being suspicious of those who aren't), my affinity for Jack increased geometrically when I learned that he dug cats.

Bottom line: cats are cool. They epitomize beatness because they follow their own path.

I've mentioned cats here on The Daily Beat on several occasions:
September 22, 2008
October 23, 2008
November 2, 2008
November 7, 2008
November 14, 2008
November 25, 2008
January 6, 2009
January 9, 2009

Get yourself a couple of cats and treat them well (unlike Old Bull Lee). It's good for the soul.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 71 Kerouaction: On Recycling

Day 71 in The Beat Handbook was inspired by the above passage from On The Road.

Day 71 is one of the longest entries in my book, but let me nutshell if for you: The beats were green before being green was cool.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 70 Kerouaction: On the Ideal Bar

Day 70 in The Beat Handbook is titled, "On the Ideal Bar." It was inspired by the above passage from On The Road. I have to say, this is one of my favorite entries in my book. However, I'm not going to paraphrase or even allude to what I wrote. Instead, I am going to quote Old Bull Lee's (William S. Burroughs) description of the ideal bar (from the pages previous to the above).

"The ideal bar doesn't exist in America. An ideal bar is something that's gone beyond our ken. In nineteen ten a bar was a place where men went to meet during or after work. and all there was was a long counter, brass rails, spittoons, player piano for music, a few mirrors, and barrels of whisky [I note here that this spelling means Scotch, not Irish Whiskey, although I wonder if Jack knew the difference or cared] at ten cents a shot together with barrels of beer at five cents a mug. Now all you get is chromium, drunken women, fags, hostile bartenders, anxious owners who hover around the door, worried about their leather seats and the law; just a lot of of screaming at the wrong time and deadly silence when a stranger walks in."


Monday, October 10, 2011

Visit to Author's Ridge at Sleepy Hollow Cemeter

On a spontaneous whim, Crystal and I visited Author's Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, MA, on our way home from Lowell Celebrates Kerouac. Here are some pictures she took of me next to the main marker and each author's grave.

This is the main marker.

Here I am next to Henry David Thoreau's marker. I read aloud the first few sentences of "Civil Diobedience" here, but didn't drink any Bushmills. Something seemed wrong about doing that. It made sense that people had left natural items (except for some pennies) like pine cones and rocks on and around Thoreau's marker. It was quite a contrast from what you'll find at Kerouac's grave.

Next to the Hawthorne plot. I still remember the way my 11th grade English teacher, Mr. Stahler, used to enunciate "Hester Prynne."

This is Louisa May Alcott's marker.

Ralph Waldo Emerson's marker. Crystal read his poem, "The Apology," here. On the back of Lidian Emerson's marker (she was Ralph's wife), is an inscription that concludes, "...but with overflowing compassion her heart went out to the slave, the sick and the dumb creation. She remembered them that were bound as bound with them." Nice sentiment albeit terminology we would today find offensive.

After visiting the cemetery, we did a little windowshopping in town. For lunch we went to the Walden Grille.

Directly across the street was Thoreauly Antiques. Clever.