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Posts Tagged ‘Jack Kerouac’

“With every book you go back to school. You become a student. You become an investigative reporter. You spend a little time learning what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes.”\

This made for a nice reading nook when I was visiting Flagstaff, Arizona, a few years ago. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This made for a nice reading nook when I was visiting Flagstaff, Arizona, a few years ago. — Photo by Pat Bean

Or Not!

            Don Quixote, written in the early 17th century by Miguel de Cervantes, is considered an influential work of literature, and as such, is included on many recommended book reading lists.

A cozy bench to read, or watch birds. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A cozy bench to read, or watch birds. — Photo by Pat Bean

I slogged through the thick two-volume missive, on which is based the play and movie, Man of La Mancha, discovering many thought-provoking ideas that enriched my mind. It was well-worth my reading times.

But while Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is on just about every list of the 100 best travel books, which is a genre I read prolifically and enthusiastically, I haven’t been able to slog through this book. I’ve tried three different times with little success.

I fall asleep, I lay the book aside and somehow it gets lost and I never have the desire to return to it. I just don’t understand Kerouac’s kind of travel. About the only think I truly get about Kerouac and his Beat Generation is this one quote: “What is the feeling when you’re driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their flecks dispersing? It’s the too huge world vaulting us, and its good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

            I use it on the opening page of Travels with Maggie, the travel book I’m hoping to get published soon. I suspect, however, those words might have meant something different to Kerouac than to me – just as all written words mean different things to different writers and different readers.

Something in me says I should give On the Road another try. Something else in me says or not?

Bean Pat: A pleasant and peaceful armchair journey through the Namibia Desert http://tinyurl.com/om4pmks Watch the slide show.

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A yellow-headed blackbird seen on my morning walk with Maggie makes me go "Awww!" -- Photo by Pat Bean

 “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 muddle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’” – Jack Kerouac

Travels With Maggie

Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” is listed in almost every version of the 100 Best Travel Books. And on all of the various lists I’ve come across in recent years, I’ve read well over 50 percent of the selections.

But I haven’t read “On the Road.” That is I’ve never finished it. I’ve started the book several times but have never gotten beyond a few pages before laying it down and forgetting about it.

While there are quite a few of Kerouac’s quotes in my journal, such as the one above that I absolutely love, I can’t connect with this author like I do with say Tim Cahill, who has me rolling on the floor with laughter, or Charles Kuralt, whom I consider my travel soul mate, or John Steinbeck, whose down to earth writing draws me into his circle, especially since he writes about traveling with his poodle, Charley, and I write about traveling with my cocker spaniel, Maggie.

But I don’t, except for an occasional quote, get Jack. I keep thinking I will if I just read more than a few pages of “On the Road.”

Perhaps one day I will. Perhaps I’ll even find that copy of his book I bought a few years back to give it a fifth or sixth try. It was at least the third copy of “On the Road” that I’ve bought over the years, and I honestly have no idea where it is now.

And a patch of colorful pansies lights up my eyes as well as a fireworks display. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I recently read a book in which needful books kept turning up magically for one of the characters. I wonder what it means when books disappear. Or how come I can’t get into a book that so many other people think is a great classic.

Perplexing questions to which I have no answer. But I do love Kerouac’s above quote. It’s a whole book in itself.

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