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On “On the Road”

They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

One of my favorite books of the last coupla years is Jack Kerouac’s masterpiece “On The Road”. There’s more excitement, adventure and lunacy in that book than most people feel in a lifetime. It’s a kick-in-the-nads to lifelessness, a restless travelling book that ushered in the 60’s and created an entire subculture that was the Beat Generation, which had nothing to do with bongos and black turtlenecks. Sal and Dean (Kerouac and Neal Cassady) wanted raw experience, and rambled around the US trying to meet everyone, do everything, learn and know every bit of info there was to know. The book definitely makes me want to load up a car and head out, with no direction or plan, have crazy parties and dig some seedy bars.

Kerouac may have been a lonesome alcoholic that lived with his mom and died before he was 50, but he wrote some damn good books. Read it, then move onto Dharma Bums and eventually hit Big Sur, though that one’s a little hard to stomach (DT’s and loneliness don’t sound as fun as jazz, speed and road trips). Kerouac had his issues, but I think I can relate to his drive to kill boredom while at the same time fighting the urge to seclude himself in a cabin in the woods, or on a mountain (Big Sur and Desolation Angels, respectively).

If my life is half as interesting and filled with wild, mad characters like Dean Moriarty, I can die happy.

 

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