. . . and luckily no one here has to be, at least today. The latest computer models show Hurricane Dean heading for Mexico, he has already beaten up Jamaica or is as we speak. Bless them. He might hit the southernmost tip of Texas, near Brownsville, a town known for over the top poverty and people living in shacks that would make a FEMA trailer look like the Ritz. They'll be needing some help. We better get our checkbooks out, since, well ya know how well the powers that be handled New Orleans.
As I was checking around for Dean info this morning, I came across several articles about Kerouac's "On the Road" turning 50. Always a Kerouac fan, even though he really was an avowed conservative and never understood the hippie kids like me who got something else out of his work, I was delighted that a 50th Anniversary edition was coming out and might have to procure one. The original long scroll upon which the first draft was typed in a blaze of amphetamine stream of consciousness will be on display in New York. I wish I could see it.
But in my 'net meanderings, I found this at the New York Times. A great slide show of international "On the Road" bookcovers over the years. Some are hilarious like this one from Czechoslovakia:
He probably would have giggled about that. Some of the others are interesting, one from China is just plain bizarre.
There are tons of editorials and critiques out there about whether or not "On the Road" was or is relevant, whether it was or is good writing, whether it was or is influential. For me, reading "On the Road" every couple of years reminds me that rhythm in everything is important. Some people find Kerouac "wordy," I find his extra words to be like eighth notes in a piece of music. I think he'd be surprised that people are even still talking about this, this work he never really got the significance of, this work that nearly paralyzed him from doing any further work. Oh yes, he wrote several more books--some better than "On the Road", but the pressure to write another "On the Road" along with the cultural issues that book evoked and with which he was at odds, in the end, pretty much killed him.
At any rate, raise a glass to Jack today. Be content that, at least for today, some of our citizens aren't on the road running from Dean. No, not Dean Moriarty, Dean the Hurricane, (although in some minds, they could be the same thing!)
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