Food for Thought: Kerouac

20 Aug

On the Road was one of the first books I ever remember understanding. My fourth grade teacher had a copy of it on her desk and while I was made to stay inside for whatever infraction of the day while the other fucks were out to recess, I stole it. I was hooked. I read it in secret, under my bunk bed, at home. I read it again. I fell in love with Dean. I wanted to be Sal. On the Road is the reason I became a writer. I wrote my first “novel” around that time after reading it. I pretended to be the long lost son of Kerouac. On the Road was a big part of the reason that years later, as a teenager, I ran away to New York City.  It touched me. It moved me. It changed me. One of the best books of all time.

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”

“The one thing that we yearn for in our living days, that makes us sigh and groan and undergo sweet nauseas of all kinds, is the remembrance of some lost bliss…”

“Our battered suitcases were were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”

“So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

“Sal, we gotta go and never stop going till we get there.”
“Where we going, man?”
“I don’t know but we gotta go.”

[UPDATE: In case you miss it in the comments, check out this kickin’ Kerouac video post over at Bukowski’s Basement. I never realized how much he does favour Daniel Craig…]

9 Responses to “Food for Thought: Kerouac”

  1. Bukowski's Basement at 7:20 am #


    I couldn't agree more about Kerouac. Altho, it took me way later than fourth grade to discover him. I was reading THE HARDY BOYS then…

    in any case, if you want, check out this cool Kerouac vid I made. You may dig it…


  2. Nariane at 8:59 am #

    You're still more evolved than me… :/

  3. MamaTink at 10:30 am #

    I never read it, I will have to look it up.

  4. Marlene at 11:53 am #

    That's 4th grade reading material?!!!! I'm with one of the above posters…I think I was reading Nancy Drew back then. Whoa!

  5. Mystz at 11:02 pm #

    This couldn't have been 4th grade study material..or who knows..maybe it could have been?

    Pretty intense if so! I can't even recall reading material in 4th grade now but I know Kerouac wasn't part of the reading studies.

    Brilliant writer though I agree..and being a praire girl myself..can relate to the above you quoted about the stars, river etc and even Pooh Bear who hails from Winnipeg where I'm from.

    Once again..thanks for the memory jogs tonight, bless you and ♥ you!!

  6. at 6:35 am #

    The book was not reading material for the class. Had it been, I would think I would have had my own copy which would have thusly nullified my proclivity for kleptomania. It was my teacher's personal copy that I stole…

    There's actually more to the story as I did go back years later – while in high school – and replace it. But that is not the point of this post – and is another story in and of itself.

    Just thought I would clear it up since everyone seems to be getting sidetracked regarding the fourth grade curriculum.

  7. Pat Tillett at 3:44 pm #

    “What's your road, man?–holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It's an anywhere road for anybody anyhow.”

  8. gayle at 5:18 pm #

    The one thing that we yearn for in our living days, that makes us sigh and groan and undergo sweet nauseas of all kinds, is the remembrance of some lost bliss…”………I LOVE thiss!!!! It is so True!!!

  9. Charles at 6:17 pm #

    Kerouac is the shit.

    I think that the whole beat thing has been pre-empted by an empty and grotesque “hipster” culture today. People need to do more drugs and separate themselves more from society.

    kerouac IS the shit.

Comments are closed.