Wednesday, August 08, 2007

On the Road: 50 Years

Posted by Hello

“the highway scribe is BACK; triumphant over a series of computer problems he started out not knowing how to fix. Don't ask.

Of course, now anything that was black is now blue and to hell with it.

The “New York Times” has a blog called “Paper Cuts” that is “about books” and today’s topic is the 50th anniversary of “On the Road,” or, more specifically, its publication.

Read the comments and click on the links to a few different viewpoints on the importance, or the non importance, of the book and highwayscribery saint Jack Kerouac.

Here is a link to an article and neat little video from “Newsweek.” and here is one of our favorite letters from Jack to Allen Ginsberg:

October 8, 1952

This is to notify you and the rest of the whole lot what I think of you. Can you tell me even for instance...with all this talk about pocket book styles and the new trend in writing about drugs and sex why my "On the Road" written in 1951 wasn’t ever published? – why they publish [John Clellon] Holmes’s book ["Go"] which stinks and don’t publish mine because it’s not as good as some of the other things I’ve done? Is this the fate of an idiot who can’t handle his own business or is it the general fartsmell of New York in general...And you who I thought was my friend – you sit there and look me in the eye and tell me the "On the Road" I wrote at Neal’s [Cassady] is "imperfect" as though anything you ever did or anybody was perfect?...and don’t lift a finger or say a word for it...Do you think I don’t realize how jealous you are and how you and Holmes and [Carl] Solomon all would give your right arm to be able to write like the writing in "On the Road"...And leaving me no alternative but to write stupid letters like this when if instead you were men I could at least get the satisfaction of belting you all on the kisser – too many glasses to take off. Why you goddamn cheap little shits are all the same and always were and why did I ever listen and fawn and fart with you – 15 years of my life wasted among the cruds of New York, from the millionaire jews of Horace Mann who’d kissed my ass for football and now would hesitate to introduce their wives to me, to the likes of you...poets indeed...distant small-sized variants of same...baroque neat-packaged acceptable (small print in the middle of neat page of poetrybook) page...Not only have you grieved me now by your statement that there is nothing in "On the Road" you didn’t know about (which is a lie because at just one glance I can see that you never knew the slightest beginning detail of even something so simple as Neal’s worklife and what he does) – & Solomon pretending to be an interesting saint, claims he doesn’t understand contracts, why in ten years I’ll be lucky to have the right to look into his window on Xmas eve...he’ll be so rich and fat and so endowed with the skinny horrors of other men into one great puffball of satisfied suckup...Parasites every one of you, just like Edie said. And now even John Holmes, who as everybody knows lives in complete illusion about everything, writes about things he doesn’t know about, and with hostility at that (it comes out in hairy skinny legs of Stofsky and "awkward" grace of Pasternak, the sonofabitch jealous of his own flirtatious wife, I didn’t ask for Marian’s attentions...awkwardness indeed, I imagine anybody who walks on ordinary legs would look awkward around effeminate flip-hips & swish like him) – And the smell of his work is the smell of death...Everybody knows he has no talent...and so what right has he, who knows nothing, to pass any kind of judgment on my book – he doesn’t even have the right to surl in silence about it – His book stinks, and your book is only mediocre, and you all know it, and my book is great and will never be published. Beware of meeting me on the street in New York. Beware also of giving any leads as to my whereabouts. I’ll come up to New York and trace down the lead. You’re all a bunch of insignificant literary can’t even leave New York you’re so stultified...Even [Gregory] Corso with his Tannhauser chariots running down everyone else has already begun to pick up...Tell him to go away...tell him to find himself in his own grave...My heart bleeds every time I look at "On the Road"...I see it now, why it is great and why you hate it and what the world is...specifically what you are...and what you, Allen Ginsberg, are...a disbeliever, a hater, your giggles dont fool me, I see the snarl under it...Go ahead and do what you like, I want peace with myself...I shall certainly never find peace till I wash my hands completely of the dirty brush and stain of New York and everything that you and the city stand for...And everybody knows it...And Chase knew it long ago...that is because he was an old man from the start...And now I am an old man too...I realize that I am no longer attractive to you queers...Go blow your Corsos...I hope he sinks a knife in you...Go on and hate each other and sneer and get jealous and...My whole record in NY is one long almost humorous chronicle of a real dumb lil abner getting taken in by fat pigjaws...I realize the humour of it...and laugh just as much as you...But here on in I’m not laughing...Paranoia me no paranoias either...Because of people like you and Giroux...even with G. you fucked me up from making money because he hated you...and came in with Neal that night and Neal right away wanted to steal a book from the office, sure, what would you say if I went in your N O R C and stole things and made fun of it...and Lucien with his shity little ego trying to make me cry over Sarah and then telling me at the lowest ebb of my life that I would be awful easy to forget...He must know by now unless be-sotted and stupid with drink that it is so about easily one may disappear...and be forgotten completely...and make dark corruption spot in dirt...well alright. And all of you, even Sarah I don’t even care to know any more or who will ever hear of this insane letter...all of you fucked me up...with the exception of Tony Manochhio and a few other angels...and so I say to you, never speak to me again or try to write or have anything to do with me... besides you will never probably see me again...and that is good...the time has come for all you frivolous fools to realize what the subject of poetry die...and die like men...and shut up...and above all...leave me alone...& don’t ever darken me again.
Jack Kerouac

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Vaya, con Jack...

Saludos desde Sevilla and best wishes, j