.: Above The Aether :.

11 Sep, 2007

Kerouac scroll published

Posted by: Dave In: Books |Spam Poetry

Kerouac Scroll

There has been some debate on whether or not Jack Kerouac truly wrote the original draft of One the Road in three weeks while hopped up on Benzedrine and coffee. There isn’t any debate that he used several very long continuous scrolls of tracing paper that he taped together to measure a total of 120 feet – single spaced – with no paragraph breaks.

All work and no play makes Jack obsessive compulsive apparently.

Well, many years ago when I was an english major in college I was enthralled by the beat writers. The adventurous spirit and lust for life that Kerouac, Snyder, Cassady and Ginsberg represented made a staggering impact on me as a young student looking for answers. Here was a group of writers struggling with the same gloriously unanswerable questions I was struggling with at the same time. Who am I? What does it all mean…and why are my roommates crazy?

When I decided to go to graduate school several years later I actually considered an MFA in literature with a focus on the Beat writers. This thought was short-lived when I assessed my earning potential as a career Starbucks employee, but I actually considered it for a short while.

When I reflect on the beats today (perhaps through the eyes of someone slightly more mature) I realize the beat writers were a pretty self-center lot. Kerouac and Cassady’s misogynistic tendencies make me cringe now and Burroughs’ drug use was unbelievably self-destructive.

But they were onto something bigger than their faults. Something completely unacceptable in the 1950s…and that was cool.

So why am I talking about the beats? Well, Viking Press has published the original scrolls Kerouac used to write On the Road. I’m not sure I would want to read an unedited version of this manic stream of consciousness memoir/novel, but I think it’s cool that someone finally published it the way Kerouac wrote it.

Amazon | Borders | Barnes & Noble

There’s no denying the beat writers were “angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.” Allen Ginsberg summed up the Beat Generation in that one beautiful line of his poem Howl.

But make no mistake, they were also dicks.

-Dave

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  • Dave: Not sure, Bryan, but I'd love to know where Craig lives.
  • Bryan Hanks: What city were those in?
  • Kevin David Anderson: check out our other wreaths at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150452725264516.391111.360128594515&type=3
  • epiphenita: Like Tom Waits without the music.
  • epiphenita: Reminds me of my good friend's artwork: http://victoriacarlson.blogspot.com/2009/06/untitled.html
  • Dave: I think someone should make some dance music from those "WHOAHs."
  • epiphenita: Oh, Dave. That was tonic to my soul. Perfect. I vote for an exorcism.
  • Dave: Hmm, looks sober to me.
  • Scott: I'm thinking that the guy with the hat might have had a drink or two before this picture was taken. Just a hunch...
  • Scott: There's a roleplaying scenario just waiting to be written based on these pictures. :-)

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Stepping over the steaming pile of reality. This is one man's journey into the absurd.

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