Archive | December, 2014


27 Dec

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Bertrand Russell

SRJC 1A: Before submission on Monday…

11 Dec

-Be sure to edit, repeatedly

-Read your paper aloud to yourself and/or someone else

-The space between paragraphs should be the same as between lines

-Don’t let quoting drown-out or muffle your voice

-Title your work!!!

-Put all necessary information on Works Cited Page

-Please use a variety of words in your paper!

-Be aggressive with your tone and support of thesis!

-Balance your paragraphs so that no one point outweighs any other

-Make the conclusion one of the strongest most coherent paragraphs of the essay

Trudge vs. Trek

10 Dec

— Big Sur, Ch. 1-3

(Mike Madigan)

Kerouac chooses this word, ‘trudge’, and it encapsulates not only the momentum of his movement in these first three chapters but his mood and mental state as well.  Not till the end of chapter 3 does he find some kind of “dreamy meadow” (14) or “familiar old Heaven on Earth” (15).  It’s not so much the introductory conditions of the Big Sur surroundings that are harsh or taxing or demanding on Duluoz’s character, but Duluoz himself and all the exhaustion that has accrued over the past few years after the publication of his book that has filed down his being and mental state, making all that’s around him demanding and with a menacing quality.

“woebegone and goopy” (7), how Kerouac’s character describes his disposition waking up.  This, attributed to alcohol excess, yes, but as well what this new fame, this being crowned ‘King of the Beatniks’ has done to him.  He doesn’t know how to deal with the attention and the transition to fame.  He’s obviously bothered and because so many have just shown up at his residence, many times invading and vandalizing it, he’s stricken with paranoia and a dismal delineation and catalogue of everything around him.  And just the language he uses, like “I’ve hit the end of the trail” (7), and “drunk practically all the time to put on a jovial cap” (8), and one that’s particularly foreboding, “I wake up drunk, sick, disgusted, frightened…” (8) show that this is a character in decay, not suited for a trek or mission or another cross-country travel at all.  All he can do is trudge, sluggishly towards his own fall.

And the contrast is highlighted not only with Kerouac himself in composing such a novel that is no question autobiographical, but the way he describes the dark surroundings with hallucinogenic detail, so monstrous and menacing, when there’s nothing but celestial realities all around him (ocean, rainforest, trails, fog, “etc., etc.”).  “big roaring Whoo Whoo in my head that shot me out of my pillow like a ghost” (9) Kerouac rallies, but it’s short-lived, as in chapter 3 we as reader are accosted and wrapped, rapt, in his nihilism and catalogued trudging.  But even in this introductory “Trudge” which so many could state is symptomatic of a “nervous breakdown”, I offer that it’s all aligned with his great Duluoz saga or epic of introspection.  Meditation.  And in that light, the journey to stabilize and maintain, actually locate inner-peace through some kind of journey, we have a trek.  Yes, it’s slow and Kerouac is weighed by certain element, but he’s curiously empowered observational practice.

One of the key principles of Beatdom is separation.  It’s possible that Kerouac experienced more unintended separation in Big Sur than anything premeditated or purposed.  But, it’s logical to conclude that at this point in the novel, Duluoz is in struggle, moving slow, pained, and problem-sewn.  He’s far from any kind of Heaven or paradise, but he’s set on getting there, even if it’s slow.  He, on his own trail, seeks some destination and renewed purpose.  And all this through his own, granted painful, form of meditation.


7 Dec

The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.
-Fyodor Dostoyevksy

12/1/14 Session Notes… (English 1A, SRJC, both 3PM & 6PM sections)

2 Dec

— How are you going to hook the reader in the first paragraph?


-What are you going to do between now and 12/8, the day of the draft workshop?

-How are you planning on spreading out your examples so they’re not so close together and jumbled?

-Read the paper aloud to yourself, several times.. how does it sound/feel?


Let’s end the semester on a strong note!



ps– “…the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.” -Truman Capote