Walking in Kerouac’s boots my wild years

If you’ve not seen yet  finally a film version of Kerouac’s on the road is finally being made after more than 20 years of false starts it reaches our screens in the summer .I first heard of Kerouac as a fourteen year old when my friend Andy loaned me some Doors music, but also Jerry Hopkins AND Danny Sugerman’s wonderful biography of the Doors lead singer Jim Morrison “no one here gets out alive “.early on in the book  Jim’s  describes his reaction to reading “on the road “and how it led to him following the rest of the Beat group of writers figure such as William Burroughs ,.Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti .So me as bookish young teen and in some ways looking for something to mean something to me , made my first move it to the world of the beats  he’d read and got a copy of Burroughs’ naked lunch I know not the best first choice but I lapped it up in a couple of days and then moved on to On the road and lived in Jack’s footsteps and his friends as I found out the book is as much about Kerouac’s real life at the time .At this time I had a very tense home life I don’t get on well with my stepfather and there was a constant sense of unease at my home.So these books gave me great escape but also as Jim and Jack had both hitch-hike I start missing college and hitch-hiking round firstly in Cheshire and Manchester as I spent my days escaping the impending doom of coming home at night to an unsettled feeling at home I found beauty in the world whether it seeing the world moving or a bird  or plant as I waited for a ride .I became a more open person due to this as Hitch-hiking forces you to talk to the person  who has  picked you up .Well this  carried on even after I left and moved to Northumberland to live  with my father. I read more and more Burroughs and Kerouac thanks in two ways to the newly opened Barter books in Alnwick where I lived and the wonderful stock Alnwick library which even thou a small Library  had a number of William Burroughs books so cities of red night ,nova express and others fell through my hands as I tried to live as a beat in a small way ,drinking, seeing the world  , writing poetry (bad poetry looking back but loved typing on an old typewriter I’d been given ) and maybe in some way trying to  escape impending  adulthood in a way , this I did till well in my twenties and managed to  reached Germany as I still had wanderlust and now a romance , had a ball with my German girlfriend seeing different places and cultures first hand was something I’ll never regret  .I know look back and have fond memories of what one small book has brought to my life and also a tinge of sadness as it must be over ten years since I read a beat writer but with a new collection of william Burroughs letters out by Penguin this month I feel a summer dive into some beat writing is called for ,I m sure I said that two summers ago but this summer I m going get on the road again anyway in my mind as I know have a wonderful home life with my dear Amanda and Winston ,so the need to run has gone some what .I ll leave you with the trailer for on the road .

23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Geosi
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 10:19:48

    I am ashamed I have not read On the Road. All good for the film, though.


  2. markbooks
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 11:09:49

    Wow, I’ve got to see this. Loved the book. Beautiful post.


  3. parrish lantern
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 12:27:55

    Loved the book & like yourself went through a period where hitching was my pony, traveled a fair amount of this country & close continent in that fashion, reading the beasts. Al;though I loved Kerouac my favourite was Ferlinghetti, who I first got into via this poem – Don’t Let That Horse …

    Don’t let that horse
    eat that violin

    cried Chagall’s mother

    But he
    kept right on

    And became famous

    And kept on painting
    The Horse With Violin In Mouth

    And when he finally finished it
    he jumped up upon the horse
    and rode away
    waving the violin

    And then with a low bow gave it
    to the first naked nude he ran across

    And there were no strings


  4. rburdock
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 15:05:07

    We spoke about this on Twitter last week. Nice to see you turn your memories into a post.


  5. Rob
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 15:06:05

    We spoke about this on Twitter last week. Nice to see you turning your memories into a post.


  6. Anbolyn
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 20:06:22

    I read the Beats when I was teen, but I was never inspired to be as adventurous as you were! I will definitely see if I can watch the film – love the time period and the characters. It should be good!


  7. Annabel (gaskella)
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 08:49:18

    I read On the Road as a student, and at the time I enjoyed it, but it never set me on fire, and I have no need to re-read it. I never got very far with Burroughs, disliking the Naked Lunch big-time – but at least I tried.

    However, I very much enjoyed the Sugarman book on Jim Morrison. I listened to the Doors a lot in my 20s and 30s.


    • winstonsdad
      Apr 01, 2012 @ 12:24:54

      I liked burroughs other books more than this one which I only choose first as it was first I saw in a shop as it was pre internet days so could only get what was at hand ,all the best stu


  8. Violet
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 08:58:45

    What a great story, Stu. I read Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ at uni and it just blew me away, so of course I had to go on a Ginsberg tear and read everything I could about him and the Beats. Man, those guys were originals. It was kind of sad how most of them ended up, but a body can only take so much booze and drugs before it breaks. Have you read ‘When I Was Cool’ by Sam Kashner? It’s a brilliant coming-of-age brilliant memoir about how he became the first student at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, set up by Ginsberg in honour of Kerouac. It’s such a great book and we get to see Burroughs and Ginsberg and Corso in all their weirdness, but the story is told with such love and honour. It’s well worth reading if you haven’t already.


    • winstonsdad
      Apr 01, 2012 @ 12:26:38

      I ve not read the Kashner and it sounds like a book I d love will check my library after the iffp reading is cleared up I loved howl ,rage against machine set some of his poems to music which brought them bang up to date ,all the best stu


  9. Nana Fredua-Agyeman
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 09:35:05

    I have the book but have not yet read it.


  10. Max Cairnduff
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 14:39:34

    I loved the Beats as a teenager (though I never read Ferlinghetti). I also had a tense home life, and their writing seemed so immediate and so full of something other than the drabness of the council estate I grew up on.

    For escape I had SF, somehow this seemed more rooted in the world, but a vision of it that was real but beyond that on offer. Escape into the world, rather than from it.

    Nice post Stu.


    • winstonsdad
      Apr 01, 2012 @ 12:29:43

      I did escape into some fantasy books at that time magican, lord rings and the king dark tower series .I not read many sci fi a couple of moorcock’s as he was meant to be one that was highloy respected ,all the best stu


  11. Willa
    Mar 30, 2012 @ 21:02:19

    Great post Stu! I haven’t actually read anything Beat yet… Oh I feel so ashamed to write it. Will have to do it. Very soon. Thanks for reminding me of what I am missing out on 🙂


  12. Sarah
    Apr 02, 2012 @ 21:21:35

    I wish I had an inspirational book story… Wonderful post, Stu.

    Plus a nudge to me to investigate those authors. I haven’t read Kerouac or Burroughs.


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March 2012


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