Per my recent blog entry (click here), here is my first entry discussing what's on my Kerouac bookshelf. As I said, I'm starting at the top and going left-to-right. Below is the picture I'm using for this curation effort.
As you can see, the first item on the left of this uppermost shelf (the top of my bookshelf/case) is The Beat Handbook. I am going to treat that pile of 8 copies as one item. Since I frequently hawk my book on this blog, I'm not going to say too much about it.
This pile of 8 books comprises all the hard copies I currently have on hand (for selling or giving away). My book is an example of print-on-demand publishing. That is, when someone orders it on Amazon, a copy is printed in response to that order and then shipped. As the author, I can buy them cheaper than the Amazon cost (currently $14.99 and Prime eligible). FYI, my book was published in 2008 by BookSurge. Since then, the company was bought by Amazon and is known as CreateSpace. I recommend the company if you are interested in self-publishing. I've used the company since Amazon bought it. I self-published my friend Charlie's book of poetry and it won first place for poetry in the Writer's Digest 18th Annual Self-Published Book Awards -- see a link to purchase Charlie's book over on the right side of this blog.
Allow me to repeat the story of my book. In 2005, I visited Jack Kerouac's grave for the first time on my way from Pennsylvania to see my long-distance girlfriend in Maine, Crystal, who is now my life partner (and I live with her in . . . wait for it . . . Maine). At the grave, I met a couple who were there on their honeymoon. Of all things! The young man said he was an aspiring writer and that if he ever got a book published he was going to leave a copy on Jack's grave in tribute to him as well as in thanks for the inspiration.
That motivated me to get off my ass and write a book. I don't know if I had started The Beat Handbook at that time but I do remember committing -- in my mind -- to writing a book and leaving a copy on Jack's grave. That is something I have done numerous times over the intervening years and have discussed the repercussions here on The Daily Beat.
I suspect that if I pulled out some journals from that era I could identify when I actually started writing the book in earnest. If I end up doing that I will post about it. It seems odd that the book took me 3 years to write....
I wanted to write a book related to Kerouac, but I knew a biography was beyond my ability -- and it had been done . . . repeatedly. But no one had written -- to my knowledge -- a book answering the question: What would Kerouac do? The thesis of my silly little book is that to know what Jack would do -- and therefore know what a true Beat would do -- one need only look to the actions of the characters in his novels.
I was originally going for a year's worth (365) of entries, but I settled on 100 and focused only on On The Road and The Dharma Bums. In effect, my book is a companion reader to those two novels, providing a daily meditation of sorts on actions (I call them Kerouactions) the characters take. There are entries on everything from sex to eating to parking to courtship to partying. Every entry also includes a Kerouactivity: something concrete you can do regarding that day's Kerouaction. Sometimes these are writing assignments and there is plenty of white space in my book for that.
And I said I wasn't going to write too much about the first item on my Kerouac bookshelf! But there is more to say than even the above, and I am going to stop here.
As a teaser, the item I will discuss next is the 3-CD set called The Jack Kerouac Collection, and then it is on to that mysterious white tube. Oh, and if you want to buy a copy of my book, below is a link. Happy Monday!