Thursday, December 31, 2015

Literary giants and cats, Kerouac included

This article from HistoryBuff lists the literary giants who were most obsessed with cats. Here is their list:

Honorable Mention: Jean-Paul Sartre
Honorable Mention: W.H. Auden
Honorable Mention: William S. Burroughs
Honorable Mention: Truman Capote
Second Runner-Up: Mark Twain
First Runner-Up: Ernest Hemingway
Winner: Edward Gorey

Readers of this blog will notice a glaring omission from the above list: our own Jack Kerouac. He loved cats, he wrote about them, and he had his picture taken with them on several occasions.

I think every reader of The Daily Beat should comment on the above HistoryBuff article and help the misguided author, Caroline Wazer, see the light. Perhaps we could all quote Kerouac's Big Sur as follows:
Ordinarily the death of a cat means little to most men, a lot to fewer men, but to me, and that cat. it was exactly and no lie and sincerely like the death of my little brother--I loved Tyke with all my heart, he was my baby who as a kitten just slept in the palm of my hand with his little head hanging down, or just purring, for hours, just as long as I held him that way, walking or sitting--He was like a flurry flop wrap around my wrist, I just twist him around my wrist or drape him and he just purred and purred and even when he got big I still held him that way, I could even hold this big cat in both hands with my arms outstretched right over my head and he'd just purr, he had complete confidence in me--And when I'd left New York to come to my retreat in the woods I'd carefully kissed him and instructed him to wait for me, "Attends pour mué kitigingoo"--But my mother said in the letter he had died the NIGHT AFTER I LEFT!--But maybe you'll understand me by reading the letter:- (pp. 49-50, Penguin Books, 1992)

Keep in mind when reading the above that the death of his brother, Gerard, was perhaps the most impactful single event in Kerouac's life, yielding what many would claim to be one of his best works, Visions of Gerard.

Sorry, Jack. Not everyone understands you, let alone your deep (and professed) love for cats.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Kerouac-olutions for 2016

In past years I have posted Kerouac-olutions for the new year (see below) and reported on my progress toward the previous year's. I can't find any Kerouac-olutions made for 2015, which I assume means I didn't make any. It's just as well, given my track record in keeping them. I never reported on how I did with 2014's, but let's just say I could have done better.

I just read Kathleen Thompson's The Project-Driven Life, and it inspired me in a couple of ways. One regards making lists, and one regards streaks. With those things in mind, as well as seeing The Daily Beat as a "project," following are my 2016 Kerouac-olutions (in a "list"):

1. Post on The Daily Beat at least weekly (a "streak")
2. Rethink the mission and vision of this blog and act on it
3. Read Patti Smith's M Train (a gift from my BFF Richard Marsh)
4. Hold at least one Beat Poetry Contest
5. Make a decision about a retirement date and act on it
6. Stain the deck
7. Re-roof the shed and deal with its foundation issues
8. Buy Crystal flowers at least once-a-month (another "streak")
9. Surprise people I care about with written letters for no particular reason beyond love
10. See the glass half full more often

For the diehards, here are links to past Kerouac-olutions:
2011 Kerouac-olutions
2012 Kerouac-olutions
2013 Kerouac-olutions
2014 Kerouac-olutions

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Eve

According to Ann Charters (in Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1957-1969, 2000, p. 404):

On Christmas Eve 1962, Jack and Mémêre and their three cats in carrier cages arrived at the Long Island Rail Road station in Northport and moved into their new home on Judyann Court.

If you're not moving today, count your blessings. The holy days are stressful enough without the added stress of relocating yourself and your belongings. Before you get too stressed out today, think of poor Jack and Mémêre and their three cats on this date back in 1962. And if  you've got even more stressful stuff than moving going on in your life, our thoughts go out to you and yours.

In counting my blessings, I realized that I am thankful for every single one of you who has read my ramblings over the last 7 years. I have a notion to get back to blogging more often this year, but I think a revamp of sorts is in order. More on that soon.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas Eve from The Daily Beat.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Next stop: 425,000 pageviews

It's nothing in the grand scheme of blogs, where I suspect there are some who get this many in a day, but The Daily Beat is approaching 425,000 pageviews (since I started using Google stats to measure them in May of 2010). I know, I know: we'd get more if we'd post something once in a while. Maybe we'll make a New Year's Resolution to post at least once a week. We posted every day for a long time after inception, and this is a do-able goal and could turn into a "streak" (which you can learn all about by getting my friend Kath's excellent new book, The Project-Driven Life -- click here).

Here's to lists and streaks and manifestos....