Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A Little Obsessed with Kerouac . . .


 Me, in front of Gunther's Tap Room in Northport, NY
last summer. Photo credit, Rick Kopstein


In the coming weeks before the release of my fifth novel, JACK KEROUAC IS DEAD TO ME, I'm going to share both tidbits about the story and the writing process, and about the eponymous author, Jack Kerouac, himself.
Though some will clearly go into my novel wishing to find more about Kerouac, the title should be a bit of a tip off. It is NOT a book about Kerouac. Rather, like me, my MC is not a huge fan of Kerouac's -- though for very different reasons. . . Though Kerouac, himself, does appear in a pivotal scene in the book.

I want to love Kerouac's books more than I do. I've delved back into some of his works, post-writing mine, for this book release. At the moment, I'm slogging through the middle of Big Sur. His writing is inarguably extraordinary. Still, I fall in the school of being, first, breathtakingly enamored with his talent, then grow slightly lost or bored in his ramblings, and find myself craving a bit more hardcore editing.

Having said that, I am fascinated by his life, and the fact that he lived for a while in Northport, NY, very close to where I live, makes him feel all the more real and relevant to me. And the closer I get to my release date, the more I find myself reading him, and drifting around the internet and beyond to catch glimpses of his life. I will share some of that with you in coming weeks.

Inside Gunther's Tap Room, in front of the eponymous author.
photo credit, Rick Kopstein
No doubt, Kerouac was both a talent and a tortured human being, never clearer than in this Newsday piece from July 2000 that was covering an exhibition/retrospective being held in that town.
From Newsday staff writer Ariella Budick, printed July 13, 2000:
EVEN AMONG Beat aficionados, it is a little-known fact that Jack Kerouac spent six years, on and off, in Northport, Long Island.
Celebrated during his lifetime as "King of the Beats," Kerouac retreated to a shingled Victorian at 34 Gilbert St. in 1958, the year after the publication of "On the Road."
His rapid rise to fame-he was heralded as the gifted spokesman for a disenchanted generation-yielded to an equally precipitous decline that, by the time he moved to Northport, was in full swing. An exhibit at the Northport Historical Society, devoted to Kerouac's sad years in the sleepy village he briefly called home, details the impact the writer made on Northport and the less significant impact Northport seems to have made on him. It is a tightly focused show, designed for two quite specific, and necessarily limited, sets of viewers: Northport history buffs and steadfast Kerouac disciples.
Kerouac moved to Northport with his mother, whom he called Memere, the constant companion of his adult life. Memere, conservative and Catholic, thoroughly despised Kerouac's New York friends, whom she judged a noxious influence. She particularly loathed Allen Ginsberg for his Jewishness and his homosexuality, even threatening at one point to report him to the FBI for engaging in anti- American activities. She also sent angry missives to William S. Burroughs, who remarked, "My God! She really has him sewed up like an incision." Indeed, one of Kerouac's reasons for moving to Northport was to put some distance between himself and his cosmopolitan friends.

"By all accounts, Kerouac spent his Northport years in an alcoholic haze, 
playing pool at neighborhood bars. A series of depressing photos capture him, 
overweight and falling apart, clowning pathetically for the camera."

By all accounts, Kerouac spent his Northport years in an alcoholic haze, playing pool at neighborhood bars. A series of depressing photos capture him, overweight and falling apart, clowning pathetically for the camera. His inspiration was hopelessly stalled: The many books he brought out during these years were all written earlier, when publishers had been unwilling to consider his work.
Even so, Kerouac's presence seems to have made an impact on some young lives. George Wallace, the exhibit's curator, has enshrined testimonials from a small sampling of Northport's (then) youth, attesting to Kerouac's extraordinary influence: "He made me a thinking person," says Carol Watson, who was 15 when she first met the unstable author. Although the exhibition text informs us that Kerouac did not particularly appreciate attentions from fawning young fans, he enthusiastically joined them in juvenile high jinks. One incident, we are told, involved police chasing the aging Beat and a group of young boys out of an abandoned Gold Coast mansion, after which Kerouac fell asleep, drunk, in the woods.
Kerouac became increasingly conservative- even xenophobic-as he grew older and more isolated. He rabidly supported the Vietnam War, and his growing disenchantment with erstwhile Beat friends and their "anti-American views" sometimes sounded like paranoia.
"Somewhere along the line I knew there'd be girls, visions, everything," Kerouac rhapsodized in "On the Road"; "somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me." But this sometime son of Northport died in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1969, of severe hemorrhaging brought on by alcoholism. The critic Seymour Krim did not mince words:
"He died lonely and isolated like a hunched old man at only 47 with a comic strip beer belly, and faded, gross, ex-good looks, full of slack-lipped mutterings about the 'New York Jewish Literary Mafia.'"
The Northport tribute makes him hardly more appealing.
Ariella Budick, STAFF WRITER, July 2000

If you'd like to preorder a copy of JACK KEROUAC IS DEAD TO ME, you may do so through links here:  
https://read.macmillan.com/lp/jack-kerouac-is-dead-to-me/

More soon!

- gae

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    1. DR. GREAT IS THE BEST SPELL CASTER ONLINE WHO RESTORED MY BROKEN RELATIONSHIP AND I HIGHLY RECOMMENDS DR. GREAT TO ANYONE IN NEED OF HELP!
       
      My husband left me for another woman 3 months ago and ever since then my life have been filled with pains sorrow and heart break because he was my first love whom i have spent my entire life with. A friend of mine told me he saw some testimonies of a spell caster called Dr Great that he can bring back lover within some few days, i laugh it out and said i am not interested but because of the love my friend had for me, she consulted the great spell caster on my behalf and to my greatest surprise after 2 days my husband called me for the very first time after three months that he is missing me and that he is so sorry for every thing he made me went through.He came back to me and now we are happy together. I still can’t believe it, because it highly unbelievable. Thank you Dr.Great for bringing back my lover and also to my lovely friend who interceded on my behalf, for any one who might need the help of this great spell caster here is the email address:

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      you can also call him or add him on Whats-app:+2348118829899 

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      DR. GREAT IS THE BEST SPELL CASTER ONLINE WHO RESTORED MY BROKEN RELATIONSHIP AND I HIGHLY RECOMMENDS DR. GREAT TO ANYONE IN NEED OF HELP!
       
      My husband left me for another woman 3 months ago and ever since then my life have been filled with pains sorrow and heart break because he was my first love whom i have spent my entire life with. A friend of mine told me he saw some testimonies of a spell caster called Dr Great that he can bring back lover within some few days, i laugh it out and said i am not interested but because of the love my friend had for me, she consulted the great spell caster on my behalf and to my greatest surprise after 2 days my husband called me for the very first time after three months that he is missing me and that he is so sorry for every thing he made me went through.He came back to me and now we are happy together. I still can’t believe it, because it highly unbelievable. Thank you Dr.Great for bringing back my lover and also to my lovely friend who interceded on my behalf, for any one who might need the help of this great spell caster here is the email address:

      infinitylovespell@yahoo.com  or  infinitylovespell@gmail.com

      you can also call him or add him on Whats-app:+2348118829899 

      View his blog  http://infinitylovespell1.blogspot.com







      DR. GREAT IS THE BEST SPELL CASTER ONLINE WHO RESTORED MY BROKEN RELATIONSHIP AND I HIGHLY RECOMMENDS DR. GREAT TO ANYONE IN NEED OF HELP!
       
      My husband left me for another woman 3 months ago and ever since then my life have been filled with pains sorrow and heart break because he was my first love whom i have spent my entire life with. A friend of mine told me he saw some testimonies of a spell caster called Dr Great that he can bring back lover within some few days, i laugh it out and said i am not interested but because of the love my friend had for me, she consulted the great spell caster on my behalf and to my greatest surprise after 2 days my husband called me for the very first time after three months that he is missing me and that he is so sorry for every thing he made me went through.He came back to me and now we are happy together. I still can’t believe it, because it highly unbelievable. Thank you Dr.Great for bringing back my lover and also to my lovely friend who interceded on my behalf, for any one who might need the help of this great spell caster here is the email address:

      infinitylovespell@yahoo.com  or  infinitylovespell@gmail.com

      you can also call him or add him on Whats-app:+2348118829899 

      View his blog  http://infinitylovespell1.blogspot.com

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