from a “Journal during first stages of “On The Road“ (by John Kerouac [sic], 1948-49)
Monday November 29 – That’s 32,500 words since I started on Nov 9, or better than 1500 words per day…per sitting, very high. Although this is only the first draft, and I still have no idea where I’m heading with it, I delight in the figures, as always, because they are concrete evidence of a greater freedom of writing than I had in Town and the City. However, who knows about the quality? I have been sitting down and writing with perfect equanimity and I hope that I can go on like this from now on and write a great many good books all intertwined. Still – lately – I’ve had a feeling of emptiness…not boredom, just emptiness & even falseness.These are not the reverent, mad feelings during Town and.. City, altho I’m convinced it indicates “artistic” growth; as for “spiritual growth”, I can’t say at all yet.My whole feeling & knowledge now is concentrated on people, and not beyond them in the realms of “spirituality” (I do believe). So a new notebook (the other one was sloppy to write in due to the bulge of the pages). This is better. These absurd little interests in notebook-paper are connected with the gravity of early boyhood diaries.
Kerouac’s birthday today. We’ll celebrate with those obsessives of On The Road, who have constructed/reconstructed maps of the routes. Michael J Hess’s map-making is here. Dennis Mansker’s even more thorough tracking, here.
In a (post)-modern experiment that received international press, German student, Gregor Weichbrot created a mash-up of On The Road and Google Maps!
On The Road for 17527 Miles computed it as just that (and the journey estimated as taking just over two-hundred-and-seventy-two-and-a-quarter hours!)
Weichbrot’s avowedly purely-conceptual piece is currently on show (in e-book form) at the “Poetry will be made by all!” exhibit at the Luma Foundation, Zurich (until March 30)
Rather disappointingly, “I’m not really a fan of Jack Kerouac”, he tells PRI (Public Radio International), “I have to admit. I don’t even..I haven’t (even) read the whole book”.
The whole process, once he had written the requisite computer code was “pretty easy”, he declares, and took him little more than ‘half an hour”.
On The Road leeched and reduced to a mere series of robotic directions, (we’re all for conceptual waggery, but it also becomes necessary, especially today, on his birthday, to sing and salute, once again, this extraordinary testament to the human imagination that is Kerouac’s writing, the human spirit contained within, the extraordinary wealth of language).
Here’s the source, Jack, in 1959, on the Steve Allen show, reading from both On The Road and Visions of Cody – Happy Birthday!