Thursday, November 16, 2006

This is only a test

Well, I switched to the new version of blogger.

I'm listening to "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac, narrated by Matt Dillon. I picked it up at the library out of curiousity. I've heard of Kerouac and associated him with the Beat Generation (which I know nothing about) and that's the extent of it. The tale he's weaving is really sad. "Sal" aka Jack keeps traveling across the country looking for something but so far he hasn't found it - and I don't think he will. There's moments when you can feel that you're right there with him, that something profound just happened but then it slips precariously away. He couldn't hold that moment, and neither do I because the story keeps unfolding. The book brings out alot of the norms that we/I get from society and what it means to be "good people", and for me this book challenges those norms while at the same time validating them, if that makes sense. The most consistent thought I get while listening to this story is that he's on a religious (spiritual) journey, and in the process of discovery he's destorying his body and his mind. And I keep asking myself is it really that hard? Does coming face to face with meaning have to be that hard? And I think the answer is yes, that struggle to find the meaning of life, in life, is one of life's most simply complicated joys with the answer always in front of our faces, no matter where you are.


paschal said...


Kerouac is certainly a rite of passage for most writers/readers, especially On the Road, Dharma Bums, and - for my money - Desolation Angels as well. I was caught in their spell the first go-round, but I found they did not wear all that well the second time around (knowing my prejudices and arrogance, that probably means that I will love them again the third time around). Like Henry Miller, JK was blazing new territory, and the writer/reader in me was mesmerized by the experiment. You mention the sadness: that's what hit me the second time around: sadness and misogyny, which never wears well. Sex in Miller is crazy spiritual, but it's spiritual; sex in JK is, I think, fucking.

Have you read Rimbaud? His spiritual search through a conscious, purposeful derangement of the senses is, in fairness, what JK was all about. JK's bitter drunken end saddens me, while Rimbaud's "silent" exile in Ethiopia (after the adolescent explosion of poetry) fascinates me to this day.

Hope you don't mind the occasional babblings. Peace and out: pat

jsd said...

Hi Pat, I don't mind the "occasional babblings" at all :-)

I haven't read Rimbaud so I'll have to check him out - you've got me intrigued.

I'm curious about how JK's book reads on paper, and I'll have to check it out too. I have enjoyed Matt Dillon's interpretation though.

I do find that as the "book" draws to an end that I've no sympathy for the main characters and that I'm anxious for the journey to conclude. Whatever "Sal" was searching for I think he was closest to (the purity/answers) at the beginning of his travels and lost more and more of himself the more time he spent hauling ass across the country.

paschal said...

Heretically enough, I liked On the Road least of the three JK books I mentioned: I may even like Desolation Angels best, though memory is fuzzy.

jsd said...

Blush...I had to Amazon both books to find out what the other two books were about. Based on a quick assement, Dharma Bums feels like On the Road Part II, while Desolation Bums seems more introspective, which I find fascintating.