The Mind Wobbles

So many things to absorb, think about, deal with and put up with - it simply makes the mind wobble...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It was 50 years ago today, we were told that we could run away!

(with props to The Beatles for the post title)

50 years ago today Jack Kerouac's landmark novel "
On the Road" was published. I wrote briefly about this anniversary before
, but today is the actual anniversary.

As I wrote in the linked entry and in other places this book had a profound impact on me. Not only was it - as it was for many - my gateway to the Beat movement which is one of my favorite literary movements, but it was also the first time I felt the wanderlust that fuels the adventures of Sal and Dean (the names used for Kerouac and Neal Cassady).

I can't pinpoint exactly how old I was when I first read the book, but it was in my teens. At that time I was fascinated by the story and misadventures they encountered "on the road", it was so far removed from my good Cuban-American girl existence. And of course at that age everything seems possible.

I read it again later on, in my late 20s, when my life was in a bit of turmoil and the idea of just picking up and going and ending up wherever was dangerously alluring. "Why think about that when all the golden land's ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you're alive to see?" (Part 2, chapter 6)

As I think back on the book now my life is very different, but I still wonder what it would be like to travel without the trappings of an organized life - no map, no itinerary and (gasp!) no reservations! While a disconcerting idea for this slightly obsessive middle-aged woman with control issues - it still holds a certain attraction.

Who knows, maybe some day we'll do it. Hubby and I will get in the car and just drive till we get tired, sleep wherever we land and do it all over the next day. Maybe some day...

In the meantime, I plan to read the book’s “original scroll” , where the names haven't been changed and piddly stuff like paragraphs aren't really an issue. This is how Kerouac wrote it, and according to reviewers, in the scroll you can actually hear the bee-bop rhythms in the writing.

So, thanks my mind Sal will forever remain riding the roads with Dean.
"We were all delighted, we all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing our one noble function of the time, move." (Part 2, chapter 6)

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Blogger Katya said...

I keep meaning to read this book -- it's one of those that make me feel culturally illiterate because I haven't read it. I think I'm going to check it out tonight since I'm working.

10:12 PM  

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