Saturday, May 4

The only word I had was 'WOW'

You might be starting to feel a tad overloaded with Jack Kerouac posts, but there are so many cool things about him and his novel, On the Road.  I simply can't resist sharing them.  I was reading from it just last night, and you know that feeling when you read over a paragraph, a tingle goes through you, and you know that you have to read it to someone else?  Mmm!  It was the greatest feeling.  I have no doubt in my mind that this is a book I will be rereading fervently for the rest of my life.  Listen to this:

Under a tremendous old tree was a bed of green lawn grass belonging to a gas station.  I asked the attendant if I could sleep there, and he said sure; so I stretched out  wool shirt, lay my face flat on it, with an elbow out, and one eye cocked at the snowy Rockies in the hot sun for just a moment, I fell asleep for two delicious hours, the only discomfiture being an occasional Colorado ant.  "And here I am in Colorado!"  I kept thinking gleefully.  "Damn! damn! damn!  I'm making it!"  And after a refreshing slep filled with cobwebby dreams of my past life in the East I got up, washed in the station's mens room, and strode off fit and slick as a fiddle to get me a rich thick milkshake at the roadhouse to put some freeze in my hot tormented stomach. 
and later on the same page...
I pictured myself in a Denver bar that night, with all the gang, and in their eyes I would be strange and ragged and like the Prophet that has walked across the land to bring the dark Word, and the only Word I had was Wow.  
On the Road: The Original Scroll by Jack Kerouac, 2007 ed.

Don't these passages just fill you with shivering desperation to breathe more deeply?  My smile gradually pulls bigger and bigger until the only thing left to do is laugh.  I just love this!  

To me, these passages perfectly capture those feelings of infinity (to use a word we now all associate with The Perks of Being a Wallflower).  Specifically, these passages let us relive as many times as we choose, those mornings with everything is exactly right, and you feel properly awake and powerful,  yet tiny, and still everything.  Those mornings that you want to last forever, but which slip away almost instantaneously.  How is it possible that someone can capture this so beautifully?  Kerouac has blessed us with the gift of a perfect morning - the very first perfect morning that can be infinite.  The only word I had was WOW.  


It was listening to this audio file that made me realise how completely I had to get a copy of On the Road.  You can hear the author reading it exactly how he meant for it to be read, with a swinging, jiving, rhythmic canter.  

This book is jazz transposed from time signatures to sentences.  

I hope that you don't mind hearing about my journey with Jack Kerouac, and that you might even be convinced to make the trip yourself!

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