Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Kerouac

How to read the Beat generation books?

Jude Quinten Hawkins comment on Kerouac writing style:
when you read Beat authors like Kerouac, Kesey, or Burroughs, it helps to let go off any desire for a plot or arc of any sort.

Most of the time their books are more like snapshots of a place and time, put down in writing.

I try to pretend that I am there with them, hanging out in the car/apartment and just experience it as it comes without trying to make a bunch of grandiose connections about what it all means.

I think the key to success with On the Road is approaching it from the correct angle. Some people love it because its a rip-roaring party book, and in some respects, it is. But it is also a post WWII novel about people that had absolutely no idea how to live in the world they had helped build.

For what it’s worth, I toss it in the stack of work that I’d describe as apocalyptic.

Read it with Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America, Carson’s Silent Spring, McCarthy’s The Road, DeLillo’s Point Omega, Harrison’s A Good Day to Die maybe watch Mad Max while you’re at it…

In that context, you probably still wouldn’t like the diction or the characters, but if the end doesn’t rip your heart and your guts right out, I’m not sure what would.

Honestly Kerouac is a mess, and to think that’s after going through edits and publishers.

It seems to me that some books are meant to be read over and over, On the Road being one of them, his style really is a reflection of his environment and the journey he was on.

Extremely heavy drinking and drug use, in fact, and I can’t be 100% on this but there should be a study confirming it I’ll see if I can find it, but examining On the Road is basically a case study in the effects of speed on the brain.

Mad typing, half-formed ideas, seeming madness on the page, as if his mind was moving much too fast for the typewriter to keep up and even with that he typed the 120-ft scroll of On The Road in little over two or three weeks, single spaced, no edits.

In the end he’s a talented mad typist that seems to just let the machine, be it car or typewriter, take him places


“Voyage to the End of the Night” Part 4

These are excerpts of statements of a collection of stories describing the war, the after the war, and delivering physical care to the poorer district in Paris…

“The French race doesn’t exist. We are a bunch of seedy people like me, flea-infected, in transit…who ended up on these shores, with nowhere else to resume the flight, a long trip, fleeing famine, cholera, tumors, cold…the defeated individuals, arriving from the 4 corners of the world…

We are the generations of great parents, hateful, docile, raped, stolen, and cuckoled…We are born faithful, soldiers for free, heroes in the eyes of everyone, and talking apes: We are the darling of King Misery.

We change nothing, neither socks, nor opinions, nor our masters… (It sounds like Celine was describing the Lebanese people…)

Love is infinity at the reach of dogs, and I’m not dignified enough for that luxury.

I needed over 20 years and participating in an ugly war before I learned that two distinct kinds of humanity exist: The poor and the rich. It took me that many years and many more miseries to start asking for the price of things and people, before I touch and keep things and people

We have this urge for making love as we scratch. It is harder to renounce on love than on life: We pass our time killing or adoring, and often time doing both concurrently.

We do our best to relay our sperms to the next generations of bipeds, frantically, at any price, as if it were extremely agreeable to sustain procreation. We are tacitly hoping that, eventually, in a distant future, mankind will get its revenge and reach a phase of living forever

And yet, all our love-making is tinged with shame, (and it is because of this feeling of shame attached to this activity that we keep at it…keep scratching all the way…)

Love is like drinking alcohol: The more drunk and impotent, and the greater is our feeling of power and cunning, and the stupider is our certainty for our divine rights over our partner…a feeling of power that hides our endemic lack of courage…

Poems of heroism possess the soul of those not on the front lines, and particularly, those making huge profit from wars…and this is done without any resistance

Lola (an American nurse from the east coast) had these steel blue eyes that looked you straight in the eyes.  Lola rambled on the side of optimism and the joy of living, as most privileged people do, invested with health, security, money, and a long life ahead of her. I had a thousand irrefutable reasons to have contrary emotions. To Lola, I was no longer in the vibrant and radiant mood…Lola harassed me in the matter of the soul. To me, the spirit was the vanity and pleasure of the healthy bodies and of those in want of getting out of the body during extreme sick periods… And it became my project to pay a visit to the USA and meet more of these healthy girls…

As long as the little people are paying the tab, out of their labor, sweat and miseries in order to advance the lot of the privilege class, what difference does it make if they pay in Marks, Francs or Dollars? What could the little people lose when the building of the owner burns down? Another owner will take over…(It is better the new owner does not speak the local language: The little people can enjoy these fleeting instances of feeling superior, making fun of the proprietor and ridiculing him out loud…)

Note 1: Ferdinand Celine worked 4 years on his manuscript at nights after a long harassing day as a physician.  The manuscript lacked all kinds of punctuation, 25 years earlier than Kerouac first manuscript “On the Road” and it was not like Celine didn’t know how to punctuate.

Note 2: If you like to read part 3

You think that you are adult and finally decided to leave home without a proper education.  You want to investigate the world and feel aware of your potentials, courage, and determination to have a life of your own.  You are hitch hiking to the East, to the West as Kerouac did over half a century ago.  You meet people on the way who shared your longing; and you experiment with all kinds of drugs since you are in the experimentation mood.  Eventually, once you reach the western ocean where the weather is always hot then you discover that the homeless experiment is feasible: sleeping outside under a clear sky, near the beach, watching people passing by…  Then hunger sets in and the challenge of getting fed becomes acute because people are fed up of dolling out to outstretched dirty hands.

Waking up one morning in a ditch, awareness that you reached bottom posts in front of your spirit three alternatives:

First, you may try to change and apply to jobs.  This is not an easy decision:  You have to get a shower, shave your beard, find decent cloths, find an affordable facility to write and print your altered CV with catchy professional exposures.  Trouble is:  You don’t have a base to start with to keep up the cleansing, washing, and pressed cloths for the duration of job application process.

Second, you fall back to your parents and impose your presence.  They might purchase a computer and connect you to internet in order to get you out of their legs.  You get installed in front of this fast communication facility and view the world unfolding in front of you.  By the by, you are eating abundant quantity of junk food without realizing it and you gained a lot of weight.  One day you shave your extended beard and discover that the mirror is reflecting three chins and no neck.  Your mouth shrank relative to your bloated face.  Your eyes are just two dots surrounded by masses of flesh.  You are now addicted to eating; an addiction worse than opium, heroine, cocaine, or nicotine.  You gave up trying to diet:  This is an impossible mission.  You can no longer walk any distance:  Your heart has more urgent task to do than indulging aiding you stepping out.  People will no facilitate venturing out to the limelight:  You are a tar to the svelte community.  You decide to move to the basement and have your parents bring you food at your door step and you call the pizzeria to deliver.  A life form.

Third alternative, you enroll in the military.  Your country has always a couple of wars going on simultaneously and Uncle Sam wants you.  Free food aplenty; and they know exactly why you joined the army.  You are another mercenary with a petty goal of eating, getting paid, obtaining residency, or all the above.  You are sent to Iraq first.  You are killing innocent people (collateral damages?) and are traumatized.  You are the kind of sensitive person and your conscience is disturbing you.  You fall back swallowing huge amount of food to appeasing your ethical and moral standards.  You try to vomit what you regurgitated but fail.  Your stomach is aching continuously its skin is dilating to amazing proportions.

You are gaining about 25 pounds a year and are advanced to the front line; not because you are a valuable and trained soldier but you are an ideal shield for the skinnier soldiers moving behind you.  The army would love that you are “killed in action” instead of degrading the image of the army when you are repatriated.  For example these kinds of comments: “Are you fighting or spending time eating?”; “How are we to win if overweight soldiers are running the show?”; “McDonald must be making a fortune in Iraq”; “Now I can figure out why we witnessed this terrible financial crash”.

This pathology of becoming very much overweighted (much over 200 pounds) is endemic in the overseas divisions in war action.  This is no longer opium addiction or venereal diseases:  This is a worse terrible addiction that is shaming the image of a supposedly a young and svelte army.  The best trained and discipled war machine that can live on little and withstand moral atrocities.  The dailies are reluctant to cover that shameful pathology increasing exponentially.  Life forms cannot make headlines.

You are encouraged to read “A Life Form” by Amelie Nothomb.




March 2023

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