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.

Day 69 Kerouaction: On Spontaneity

Day 69 (an auspicious number, n'est pas?) in The Beat Handbook is titled, "On Spontaneity." It was inspired by the above passage from On The Road.

The beat way is to live each moment like it's your last. What are you doing right now that honors life?

Loosen up! Howl at the moon. Go somewhere. Sing out loud. Walk around outside naked. Try a new food. Write a poem. Read something radical. Call an old friend for no reason. Give a stranger five bucks and ask them to pay it forward. Throw an impromptu party. Something! Anything! Even piggyback around the tanks of a gas station beats sitting there reading this blog.

Sunday, Crystal and I got up and were getting ready to leave Lowell from our fantastic Lowell Celebrates Kerouac weekend. I said, "Hey, sweetie. Guess what?" "What?" she replied. "Concord is only 15 miles from here and that's where Thoreau is buried. Want to do another author's grave visit?" (Visiting author's graves is something we like to do - click here). She said, "Sure!" and the rest is history. I have yet to document it on The Daily Beat, but we saw Thoreau's grave along with Emerson's, Hawthorne's, and Alcott's. We took some pictures/video and did some reading. I'll write about it in an upcoming post.

The point is to be spontaneous and look for opportunities that honor life. That's what Jack would do.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pictures/videos from Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2011

Below is a fairly comprehensive photo/videojournal of our Lowell Celebrates Kerouac weekend. NOTE: Click on photos to enlarge them for viewing.

Me at Jack's grave.

These next two links are videos of me and Crystal reading at Jack's grave.

Rick reading from Big Sur

Crystal reading from Mexico City Blues

Crystal at Jack's grave.

The inscription in the copy of my book I left at the grave.

The instructions I left on my book.

Jack's grave during our visit. At bottom are the two books we read from - we didn't leave them there.

"So long, Jack."

A picture Crystal took using the "panorama" setting on my camera so she could get my truck (with DHRMABM license plate) and Jack's grave in one shot.

A guy at Ricardo's was impersonating Jack.

Me with Melissa, who won an autographed copy of The Beat Handbook by saying Rumplestiltskin (per my challenge in a previous post).

Poet Steve Dalachinsky reading Saturday morning at the Jack Kerouac Commemorative.

One of the stones at the Jack Kerouac Commemorative.

Me listening at the Commemorative.

David Amram playing Amazing Grace at the Commemorative.

The plaque on the house where Jack was born.

9 Lupine Road in Lowell, MA: the house where Jack Kerouac was born.

Docent Roger Brunelle reading at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Jack's funeral home in Lowell, visible from beginning of the Stations of the Cross at the Grotto.

The stations of the Cross near the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. That's Bill, who is omnipresent during LCK weekends.

Sign outside the Worthen House, a stop in Friday night's pub crawl and site of Saturday afternoon's open mike.

Me reading at the open mike at the Worthen.

Click here for a video of my reading.

Kerouac, Lowell, Kevin Nash, Cappy's Copper Kettle, & Synchronicity

Friday night during the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Pub Crawl, we were having a beer near the pool table in the back of Cappy's Copper Kettle. A rough-looking tattoo-sporting longhair was playing pool (see above), and he had actually ushered us to a couple of seats near the short bar by the table (his drink was sitting there and we didn't know if the seats were taken). While his opponent was playing, he would come over and drink. Out of the blue, he looked at me and said I looked like Kevin Nash (below). "Do you know who that is?" he asked.

Well, as a matter of fact . . . . Click here for a synchronicity laugh.

Or maybe that guy reads The Daily Beat?

Anyway, I wish I were that much of a stud. I did tell the guy I took it as a compliment. He told us he fought Mixed Martial Arts and showed us his hands that he "broke all the time." We were toward the front of the bar later in the night and he shook my hand on the way out and said it was nice to meet us.

I love beat characters!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Melissa earns a copy of The Beat Handbook

Last night at Major's, during the Kerouac Pub Crawl, Melissa whispered, "Rumplestiltskin," earning her a signed copy of The Beat Handbook. How cool is that? Above is a pic of me, Melissa, Todd, and Judy.

P.S. Todd is a professor at UMass Lowell who is doing the keynote today. See you there.

P.S.S. As usual, photography by Crystal. Thanks, sweetie.

Reading from Big Sur at Jack Kerouac's grave

Click here to watch a video of me reading from Big Sur at Jack Kerouac's grave on October 7, 2011 (during Lowell Celebrates Kerouac). Videography by Crystal.

Report #1 from Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2011

I have a minute before breakfast and then a tour of Lowell with Roger Brunelle, so I thought I'd update readers of The Daily Beat on Lowell Celebrates Kerouac events so far. As you saw in the two previous posts, last night we were on the Kerouac Pub Crawl. We started at Ricardo's, which used to be Nicky's. Jack drank there for free in his later years because Nicky was his brother-in-law. It was standing room only. A couple of poets stood behind the bar and read their works. The second one, Steve (last name escapes me), was really good. Then we went to Cappy's Copper Kettle, another of Jack's haunts. At that point, my cell phone camera started acting up, so no pictures of the next two places. After Cappy's, we went to Majors. There, Melissa from Boston asked me if I was the guy with the Kerouac blog. I said, "Yes," and she whispered "Rumplestiltskin." She earned a signed copy of The Beat Handbook. Amazing. She was with Todd, who is the keynote speaker today, and Judy. I also gave pub crawl leader Mike Wurm a copy of my book. We had a turkey panini and fries there. Tasty. Finally, we ended the crawl at The Old Worthen House. You should see the old school overhead fan system in that place. There, a guy named Kurt came up and asked me if I was Rick Dale. I said, "Yes," and he said he loved my book. Outstanding. Live music followed. We had a great time overall and didn't even get lost walking back to the hotel!

That's it for now. Pictures to come. Also videos from the grave! Stay tuned.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stop no. 2 on Kerouac pub tour.

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First stop on pub tour. Used to be Nicky's. Jack drank here for free.

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Jack's grave 2011.

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Lowell's famous Trolley Pizzeria.

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