Sunday, September 25, 2016

A '49 Hudson on today's highways

'49 Hudson used in the movie version of On The Road and displayed at San Francisco's Beat Museum

It seems like readers of The Daily Beat might enjoy the below article from a couple of days ago about a guy who explored America's highway system for two years in a 1949 Hudson, similar to the car Jack Kerouac described using for one of his cross-county jaunts in On The Road.

Here's the link:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

John Montgomery's 1970 Jack Kerouac Memoir

Once upon a time, a colleague of mine - knowing of my Kerouac obsession - gave me this book that she had been holding on to since her college days. It's copyrighted 1970 by John Montgomery and published by The Giligia Press in Fresno, CA. I think I've mentioned this before.

Regular readers of The Daily Beat will know that John Montgomery was Henry Morley in The Dharma Bums, Alex Fairbrother in Desolation Angels and the expanded version of Book of Dreams, and himself in Satori in Paris.

I see the softcover version (like mine) going for $45 on eBay, $112.50 for the hardcover. To inspire you to get your own copy, below are some snippets:

On Jack outfitting himself with camping gear after the Matterhorn climb in Bums:
"This was what gave his writing impetus--his anticipation of adventure" (p. 5).

Along the way to the Matterhorn climb:
"On the way to the mountains Jack did a lot of talking on the subject of his visions. He said that he had read a life of the Buddha and had practiced celibacy for four years as a result. Of course. a lot of credit needs to be given to the distrust of women which he had. I doubt if this was a result of his first marriages" (p. 9).

On Jack's imbibing (and practicality):
"I would imagine that if his bank failed that Jack would say that after all it should not interfere with his drinking" (p. 11).

Comparing Jack to F. Scott Fitzgerald:
"In some sense he may be compared to Fitzgerald; they lushed; had unsatisfactory times at college; tried pretty hard to measure the pulse of their own young generation trying to find itself" (p. 14).

Those are just to tease your fancy. Lots more where that came from in this little (16-page) book(let).

Thursday, September 15, 2016

5 random Western haikus for a Thursday morning in September

Forgot keys but phone is
where it belongs
Partial order (as always)

Ambient noises scare my
sense of responsibility
Trivial pursuit

Aches and pains of age
"Life finds a way"
Did T-Rex get backaches?

Blue swirls fade to black
Behind my forlorn eyes
I see future shocks

She knew before
the world did
They became silent partners

What does this have to do with Jack Kerouac? See

In any case, this post keeps my once-a-week streak alive for 2016.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Happy 59th Anniversary to Jack Kerouac's On the Road

Jack Kerouac's On the Road was published on this date in 1957. It received a rave review from the New York Times (read it here: Interestingly, this review was written by Gilbert Millstein, who was substituting for the vacationing reviewer, Orville Prescott, who would likely not have given the book a positive treatment. Indeed, three days later another New York Times reviewer, David Dempsey, wrote a less glowing review (read it here:

Nevertheless, the original review helped launch Kerouac to fame and he is now a permanent part of the American literary canon because of not only On the Road but also his other masterpieces like Visions of Cody, Dr. Sax, Visions of Gerard, The Subterraneans, and the list goes on....

Below is a passage from On the Road in celebration of its anniversary. This is from near the end of Part One Chapter 1. It explains the protagonist's fascination with Dean Moriarty, real-life Kerouac muse Neal Cassady.
Yes, and it wasn't only because I was a writer and needed new experiences that I wanted to know Dean more, and because my life hanging around the campus had reached the completion of its cycle and was stultified, but because, somehow, in spite of our difference in character, he reminded me of some long-lost brother; the sight of his suffering bony face with the long sideburns and his straining muscular sweating neck made me remember my boyhood in those dye-dumps and swim-holes and riversides of Paterson and the Passaic. His dirty workclothes clung to him so gracefully, as though you couldn't buy a better fit from a custom tailor but only earn it from the Natural Tailor of Natural Joy, as Dean had, in his stresses. And in his excited way of speaking I heard again the voices of old companions and brothers under the bridge, among the motorcycles, along the wash-lined neighborhood and drowsy doorsteps of afternoon where boys played guitars while their older brothers worked in the mills. All my other current friends were "intellectuals"--Chad the Nietzschean anthropologist, Carlo Marx and his nutty surrealist low-voiced serious staring talk, Old Bull Lee and his critical anti-every-thing drawl-or else they were slinking criminals like Elmer Hassel, with that hip sneer; Jane Lee the same, sprawled on the Oriental cover of her couch, sniffing at the New Yorker. But Dean's intelligence was every bit as formal and shining and complete, without the tedious intellectualness. And his "criminality" was not something that sulked and sneered; it was a wild yea-saying overburst of American joy; it was Western, the west wind, an ode from the Plains, something new, long prophesied, long a-coming (he only stole cars for joy rides). Besides, all my New York friends were in the negative, nightmare position of putting down society and giving their tired bookish or political or psychoanalytical reasons, but Dean just raced in society, eager for bread and love; he didn't care one way or the other, "so long's I can get that lil ole gal with that lil sumpin down there tween her legs, boy," and "so long's we can eat, son, y'ear me? I'm hungry, I'm starving, let's eat right now!"--and off we'd rush to eat, whereof, as saith Ecclesiastes, "It is your portion under the sun."

Happy Anniversary to On the Road! Next year will be 60 years. We'll have to do something special. Yair!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Jan Kerouac memorial event in Lowell on October 8

I just learned that there will be an event during Lowell Celebrates Kerouac this October to memorialize the 20th anniversary of the death of Jack Kerouac's daughter, Jan Kerouac. It will take place at Edson Hall of St. Anne's Church on Saturday, October 8, from noon to 1:30 PM.

St. Anne's is a 5-minute walk from the Visitors Center of the Lowell National Historical Park (which has free parking during the day), so this will not conflict with the Parker Lecture at 2 PM that day. It does overlap with a portion of the marathon reading of Satori in Paris (10:30 AM - 1:30 PM), but since that is a 3-hour reading, it is possible for you to catch part of the reading and still come to the memorial event (or at least some of it).

There will be several speakers at the event who knew Jan, including Gerry Nicosia, Brad Parker, Jacques Kirouac, and others to be announced. I suspect there may be other members of the Kirouac Family Association in attendance in addition to Jacques, founder and first president of the Kirouac Family Association (of which I am a proud member). I spent some time with Jacques back in April 2013 and detailed it here: He's a very charming and interesting man!

Jan was an accomplished author in her own right, publishing two excellent books, Baby Driver and Trainsong (pictured above) during her lifetime and writing a third, Parrot Fever, which remains unpublished.

For more detailed information about Jan, you might be interested in Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, edited by Gerald Nicosia. I reviewed that book here on The Daily Beat on March 1, 2012:

We have a family wedding to attend that dropped right in the middle of LCK weekend this year, so our plans are a little up-in-the-air right now. Tentatively, we hope to spend Thursday night in Lowell, and then return late Friday night after the wedding so we can get up on Saturday and attend the Commemorative at the Commemorative (here's the LCK schedule in case you haven't yet seen it: and make it to the Jan event at noon.

I encourage you to attend. It's a unique opportunity to honor Jack's daughter and hear from people who knew her. See you there (I hope).