Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘On the road

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

 

Jack Kerouac on How to Meditate

Centuries after Montaigne contemplated the double meaning of meditation and decades before Western science confirmed what Eastern philosophy has known for millennia — that meditation is our greatest gateway to self-transcendence and that by transforming our minds it is actually transforming our bodiesAlan Watts began popularizing Eastern spiritual teachings in the West and meditation wove itself into the fabric of popular culture.

Among the early converts in the 1950s was Jack Kerouac (March 12, 1922–October 21, 1969), who became so besotted with the ancient practice that he extolled its rewards in a poem, later included in The Portable Jack Kerouac (public library) — the same treasure trove of stories, poems, letters, and essays on Buddhism that gave us Kerouac on kindness, the self illusion and the “Golden Eternity,” the crucial difference between genius and talent, and his “beliefs and techniques” for prose and life.

HOW TO MEDITATE

— lights out —

fall, hands a-clasped, into instantaneous
ecstasy like a shot of heroin or morphine,
the gland inside of my brain discharging
the good glad fluid (Holy Fluid) as
I hap-down and hold all my body parts
down to a deadstop trance — Healing
all my sicknesses — erasing all — not
even the shred of a “I-hope-you” or a
Loony Balloon left in it, but the mind
blank, serene, thoughtless. When a thought
comes a-springing from afar with its held-
forth figure of image, you spoof it out,
you spuff it out, you fake it, and
it fades, and thought never comes — and
with joy you realize for the first time
“Thinking’s just like not thinking —
So I don’t have to think
any
more”

Many more records of Kerouac’s foray into Eastern teachings can be found in The Portable Jack Kerouac.

Complement this particular one with neuroscientist Sam Harris on the paradox of meditation, journalist Jo Marchant on how our minds actually affect our bodies, and David Lynch on meditation as a creative anchor, then revisit Patti Smith’s masterful music adaptation of Kerouac.

Note 1: I tied once to read a section of On the Road and gave up. I realized the real function of punctuations: Giving the reader a break to breath, and the author a fake sense of breathing.

This is the same case of reading Proust: More than 3 pages with no punctuations and my mind failed to link up with the many ideas: It was a suffocating and heavy experience, and I gave up on Proust.

Note 2: 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.
Maybe 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 https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/voyage-to-the-end-of-the-night-by-ferdinand-celine-part-3/

On the road: Ethnic and latest hyper connected nomads

Did you hear of the Inuits of Nunavut in the Arctic, the Rainbow families in the USA, the nomads of Quasrtzsite in Arizona, the connected trotters, the nomads of the Big Dams in Brazil, the nomads of nuclear waste (within a minute’s notice, hundreds from all over Europe converge to a site where nuclear wastes are to be shipped), the Roms or Gypsies, the Bedwius, the Tuaregs of the Sahara desert, the Bushman in South Africa, the Nenets in the Arctic region of Russia (surviving on eating raw the flesh of the rents), the Moguls, the Tibetan nomads…?

Most of these last-shot primitive or ethnic nomads have undergone forced deep sedentary habits.  Their territories for survival have been shrinking, mostly due to oil exploration and excessive exploitation of natural resources.

Modern new forms of nomadic life-style are taking the relay. Retired people are going nomad; rich-family youth are going nomads…

The Swiss photographer, Nicolas Bouvier wrote:

“Nomads don’t go on the road in order to gather exotic encounters and anecdotes. We (adventurers) are on the road to be plucked of our feathers, to be rinsed, to be dry spinned, until our cloths are tattered thin…Without these sorts of detachment and transparent  how could we hope to make people witness what we have seen? You think you are taking a long trip, and it is the journey that does you…”

Author Abdul Rahman Waberi of the State of Djibouti (Africa) wrote:

“We become nomads to either escape the knot of hunger, or to be deleted of our fat, what is superfluous…The ethnic nomad has a swift heart in all travels. Nomads get on the move out of necessity, and they take well-tested and known routes, they don’t look out for traces and imprints on the road: It is a question of life or death.

The ethnic nomads must fly; they don’t look at their watches for the time.  They keep walking with their families, tents, sheep, and pet animals… They are on the march, regardless of varieties of boredom, lack of surprises, picturesque scenes…

The ethnic nomads have no time to indulge in extreme exotic kinds of sport activities, fancy backpack, Ray Ban sun glasses, salad of exotic dried fruits, solar cremes…

It is hard to locate the ethnic nomad:  He is already far away and had crossed the horizon.

You are left with the alternative of dreaming up a story, create new words and images…Why sweat it out and run out of breath?

Time to experiencing humble attitudes, loving time advancing like snail, creating solitude around you, and learning to listen to the chant of silence…”

Note: Abdul Rahman Waberi is an English teacher and an admirer of the Somali author Nuruddin Farah.  He published a book of novellas “Book of nomads” and a collection of poems “Eye of a nomad, a trip across the country of Djibouti“.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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