Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Jack Kerouac Awareness Month

I don't know if it is really Jack Kerouac Awareness Month, but it is the 50th anniversary of the publication of On The Road.

Truman Capote once famously said of On The Road, "That's not writing. That's typing." And if you buy into the beatnik stereotype, you might just believe it. It's easy to imagine Jack sitting there at his typewriter, pounding out the book on one continuous ream of teletype paper, wacked out of his mind on Bennies. But that sells Kerouac a little short. He was a meticulous keeper of notebooks, and his records of his travels provided the foundation for on the road. And although his voice is often parodied as a beatnik caricature, I think the lyrical nature of his work hold up with anyone in the Pantheon of great American writers.

Although beatniks were often ridiculed as America-hating pinkos, nothing could be further from the truth. Jack Kerouac loves America and it shows in his writing from his descriptions of the great American landscape -- from big cities to small towns, from sea to shining sea -- to unforgetable characters like Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty and Carlo Marx. There's a lot to love about America. And you can find it in this book. Thanks, Jack.

No comments: