25 Points: On the Road

On the Road
by Jack Kerouac
Penguin, 1999
304 pages / $17.00 buy from Amazon

1. First thing I read by Kerouac was On the Road.

2.  After that I read Dharma Bums, Big Sur, Mexico City Blues and a lot of other Beat shit (the most obscure of which was this poet Bob Kaufman who didn’t write his poems but walked up to ppl in cars at stop lights and spouted them then and there.  After JFK died he went into a 10 year silence.  When it ended the first words he spoke were: “To all those ships that never sailed” and then some more.  I got that quote transcribed on my iPod.  The iPod broke last summer.)

3. Big Sur is my favorite.  The last few lines – that turn, that blink – I want it to be true and I think it is.

4. I first read On the Road my junior year in high school.  It was just what I needed.  I was bored.  I called it depression at the time, but really I was just bored.  I wanted to get my kicks.

5. When I got to college and read more “literature,” I grew wary of my early infatuation with the Beats.  It seemed juvenile.  I was eager to reread so I could dismiss it.

6. Then I reread it my junior year in college and  I still liked it.

7. Dean is a crazy motherfucker.

8. I want to “sweat” like Dean.  Of all the words I got from Kerouac (“blow,” “ball that jack,” “kicks”) I think sweat is my favorite. Dean gets going a hundred miles an hour just sitting there talking, scheming, licking his lips.

9. I’m not sweating. When I do sweat I don’t sweat for the reason Dean sweats.  I sweat because its hot out or I’m nervous.

10. On the Road is very much of its moment: cars, San Francisco, the attempt to lay naked the psyche.

11. The psyche: Kerouac, Ginsberg too – maybe even more so, engaged themselves in a mobile project of psychoanalysis.  Leap out the recesses of the couch, all night binges on benny’s with Groucho Marx, mapping a geo-corporal mind.

12. A lash against monitoring by the State, society, the self, of one’s thoughts, dreams, desires, actions, speech.  Fighting on the frontier of obscenity.  Literature’s 20th century frontier. Now its plagiarism (according to Kenneth Goldsmith).

13. Romanticization of race/ poverty.  Who wants to pick fucking grapes all day and make dough for a microwavable burrito?  Sal Paradise, thats who.

14. The fun Dean had with Mary Lou.  The misery Sal had watching.

15. I went on a big month-long road trip post-high school out West.

16. Presently I’m dealing with a maybe hemorrhoid/giant pimple/ welt on my ass.  No way I could sit in a car that long.

17. In the upcoming weeks I expect to travel ~45hrs on bus.  Omaha to Chicago.  Chicago to Madison and back.  Chicago to NY and back.

18. Where is my Mary Lou?

19. In NY.

20. I will probably OD on sleeping pills and granola bars on the 18hr ride to NY.

21. Read On the Road if you’re bored.

22. Read Big Sur if you’re sad.

23. Read this with a mountain of salt.

24. Kerouac would’ve written a billion points.

25. I could barely write 25.

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One Comment

  1. Hank Morris

      would rather read jack london’s writings about the road than jack kerouac’s. remember that scene in “dharma bums” when kerouac is sitting at the trainyard waiting for his train & the bull comes along & tells him he’s gotta go, so he goes & just gets a bus instead? man, what a bitch!