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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Here's to you Jack Kerouac

Yesterday I had some personal business to do in Clearwater and St Petersburg, Florida.  My plan was to originally take the Bergi down, get some good shots of it framed against the deep blue of the Gulf of Mexico waters and then have dinner at the Flamingo, the bar where Jack Kerouac supposedly had his last drink.

As it so happened I ended up having to take my car down since I had no way to properly strap the GPS to the Bergi (Note to self:  get a GPS mount) so no pictures of the bike on the Bay.

October 21, 1969 was the day that Jack Kerouac died at the age of 47, and American Literature lost a unique and original voice.   Kerouac, for those of you that may not know, wrote the seminal novel On the Road.  Although personally I don't consider this to be his best work, preferring his next work - The Dharma Bums, to be the height of his work as a writer..

I read On the Road years ago, I was influenced by it like thousands of others before me, not so much to leave home and travel about the it did for a few people I know...but to go ahead and experience different things and sensations.  To break out of my explore and fall in love with life.

On the wall of the Flamingo
As a young and hopeful writer at the time I fell in love with his "spontaneous prose" which at times seemed sporadic and musical, crazed and insane and oh so wonderful.

I read more of his work, and that opened me up to other writers and ideas and ways to live.  Where as Jack's work influenced me to live with a sense of adventure and wanderlust, in the end his work has always struck me as sad and lacking.  He was always traveling, looking, searching for something that always seemed just out of reach.

Sitting at the bar, a bottle of beer in front of me, I reflected on all of this.  The journey that lead me to sit alone in a bar on a Tuesday night, perhaps on the very seat one of my icons sat on forty years ago.  I paid for the beer, walking out of the bar feeling a little down...knowing that a great talent died way to young.

I looked up, two people on a cruiser pulled up her arms wrapped around his and they smiled...then pulled away and went off on their next adventure somewhere down the road.

I smiled, looked up at the sky and gave a silent "thank you" and went home.

1 comment:

David Masse said...

There must be magic in the October air. I just commented on Orin O'Neil's latest post, a review of the film Brighton Rock. Then I wandered over here, and I find another gem of a post. Well done Robert! Very nicely written and a joy to read. Makes want to re-read Kerouac and find that bar myself. Please keep them coming.