Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Then Movie: On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Here we have the classic book of the Beat Generation. In this short read Kerouac invites us into the world of Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. This little soft cover even introduces the reader to the great William Burroughs. We meet these great men before the height of their individual glory. The reader meets Cassady before he is the driver of Ken Kesey's Bus and leader of the Merry Pranksters in the 60's (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test-Tom Wolfe) and Ginsberg before Howl. The Old Bull Lee in this book even shows us Burroughs with his wife before the gun shot that made Naked Lunch. This story of the road and what one can find on it, is the first book of its kind. It has been an influence on all kinds of popular culture from the 60's, 70's and on to today. The amount of people that state it as a lighting rod that changed their ways of thinking about life and growing up are to many to mention here. Kerouac took the notes he had from the Road and after receiving a thousand-word rambling letter from Neal Cassady wrote the scroll that later became the book. This scroll was a long one page fury of words, with no paragraphs or even punctuation. Jack used what he called the "Essentials of Spontaneous Prose" to write one of the books that changed the way generations would look at literature and writing. This is what good films are made of, but if one does not read the words first they will miss what these men were meant to teach us.

 "To be beat is to be at the bottom of your personality, looking up.” - John Clellon Holmes 1958, Esquire magazine

  ‘You know, this is a really beat generation’ ... More than mere weariness, it implies the feeling of having been used, of being raw. It involves a sort of nakedness of mind, and ultimately, of soul: a feeling of being reduced to the bedrock of consciousness. In short, it means being undramatically pushed up against the wall of oneself.” - Jack Kerouac 1952, New York Times Sunday Magazine

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