Tag Archives: Jack Kerouac

On the first page of Dharma Bums,

12 Apr

the narrator mentions how “Charlie Parker’d been mad and relaxed back to normal health…” Further into this book we read, it should be brought up, or at least entertained if these characters’ habits and modes are “healthy”.  I argue they are, in the short-term.  Searching and searching…. Search is necessitated in finding purpose.  The wander is part of the equation.  But, there should be at least mild awareness of what you want, what kind of destination you hope to reach.  As characters with rich and curious souls, they are anything but “bums”.  They are travelers, students, seekers.  The order is in their search.  There’s the trust of the stranger, the enjoyment of the stranger, the kindness toward the stranger.  This is entirely healthy.  Not just in the civil attributes, but with the openness of soul.  The way Ray asks the thin old little bum to watch his pack while he hops off to fetch some wine, then later offering him some bread and cheese to pair with his sardines.  This is kindness.  This is healthy.

And, on the note of being “relaxed”, as readers we can only feel relaxed on this Buddhist-born journey and intention to intensify a sense of Personhood.  Kerouac urges us to be a ‘crazy dumbsaint of the mind’.  And, of those around us.  It’s health, to be around others.  And it’s even healthier to learn from them.  Kerouac even confesses himself in Big Sur that he went mad in just three weeks of being by himself.  He pained for his gang back home.  This book shows us healing, health, exploring, how to avoid the humdrum pattern of regularity.  But, we also see that we need a peak to shoot for.  These travels disclose a certain edginess, that can only be rewarding for us as the readers, and surveyors of his thoughts.

More I think about it,

14 Mar

the more I realize I have yet to learn.  About Life, yes, but more crucially myself.  Just when I think I have so much pinned, understood, there’s a variable introduced.  Something about Life and my role in it.  I guess my “advice”, if any, is be patient.  Don’t rush.  The more control is sought the less attainable it is.

2:40 on Monday.  The day still very much in motion…  What are you learning from the authors we’re reading?  What are you teaching yourself?  What has the semester’s Story taught you?  For me.. I’m seeing rewards for not acting too quickly; taking my time, and let the Story show me what to do.

You?

3/14/16

SRJC: 1A — “Plunge” (p. 102)

31 Aug

Week 3, and we get further into this book and Kerouac’s spiral.  Last week I propelled a lot of questions out in regards to why he does this to himself and why we as readers should care, why this book deserves a place in Literary history, or in the hands of modern readers.  So…..  Where are the gems for you all as readers?  Where is Kerouac teaching you something, having you maybe think about your own life and how you see things, moments and people, around you?

Kerouac knows what he’s doing, which raises the question of awareness in this novel and of and in his character; the alcohol, the old habits, and the ambitions of a former “Beatnik”.  He’s frustrated as a character, and as readers we can only sympathize, or even empathize with his character’s angst, but at the same time we may find ourselves becoming frustrated with him and his actions and words throughout this novel…  And the obsession with Cody, comparing him to a Greek God in one scene, and showing us there’s always something or someone or a collection of someone’s he’s following.  We could call him “sick”, Duluoz, and in many ways he is.  But the focus should be on recovery, or the possibility of recovery, getting better, standing up straight (as many times he mentions himself on the ground, ‘groaning’).

And more struggles with belief in something, “…I conceived of myself as a special solitary angel sent down as a messenger from Heaven to tell everybody or show everybody by example that their peeking society was actually the Satanic Society and they were all on the wrong track.” Interesting, this notion of the peekers, which puts in a moody perspective Mr. Kerouac’s/Duluoz’s paranoia, and lack of estimation in Humanity.

So, for today, we return to the notion of, 1, Personhood (wholeness of the individual; at peace), 2, Spirituality of Kerouac or lack thereof, and 3, the feel of the text.  How does the text itself feel and how does it make you feel as a reader?

So for today:

Let’s write

Let’s find evidence

Let’s talk about the text and about what Kerouac is showing us, and TELLING us (maybe telling us to do something with our own lives, regardless of time or era, or generation…)

Let’s discuss areas of focus going forward in the book, for example ‘his writing style’, ‘mood’, ‘imagery’, ‘general tone’, ‘the autobiographical dimension to this novel’, of you would call it a novel.  Then, UNIVERSALITY!  What makes any book immune to time and reader laziness…

10 min – writing

5 min – open mic

20 min – discussion

20 min – group

20 min – cooking of focus areas; questions

10 min – In class reading…

10 min – close, WAW’s…

HW: Read from 113 (ch 24) through 142 (ch 30)

-No typed reaction due; scribble intently in your Comp Books; make the topic your own, look further into his character; start forming your conclusions.

SRJC 1A, Monday 8/24/15 Meeting

26 Aug

WORD OF DAY:  Gallimaufry — ‘a confused jumble or medley of things’.jackkwithcat

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “…listening to the prompts of your own nature…” (Allen Ginsberg, on Kerouac’s writing style, 1982 Naropa lecture)

– The thought of Poetry.. poetry in this “novel” if you could call it such..  Poetic attributes to Kerouac’s prose.

– Categorizing his mood.  Is it beyond a simple category, some convenient tag?

– “One fast move or I’m gone…” What does this mean?  What do you hear in that line?

– “…this dismal cell, there’s my hopeful rucksack…”

– Interesting, the whole placement and reality of a “survival kit”.

– “…so I jump up, do my headstand first to pump blood back in my brain…”

– “…but something’s wrong…”

– All these passages create and convey a very intimate insight and feel for his state of being, in his mind and about his Person; fear, anguish, despair, but still a bit of urgency. – No conventional punctuation or many closed sentences… why?

– “A slimy green dragon racket, in the bush– An angry war that doesn’t want me pokin’ around…”

– “…AM ALONE…the religious vestal lighting of the beautiful kerosene lamp…”

– “…write these sea sounds…”

– “…my holy cup…” What are his beliefs?  His past?  His values?  Consider the Buddhist consistency to his attitude and references.

– In many parts, this book, novel or memoir, serves as a meditation, but just as well a re-evaluation of Kerouac’s/Duluoz’s Self.. to acquire and maintain TRUE Personhood.

– If he’s searching for something, some THING, then what?

– Is this an attempt at recovery?  To make better the Self, or what’s left of it?

W.A.W. from me:

Stop writing and it

stops.  The story stops.  We all

stop.  Nothing to read.

The reactions.. show ownership of your work! 

24 Jun

Titles.. indent…. interpret those passages YOUR way!

So for tonight’s class.. we are going to own our ideas.  And share them with confidence and forethought.  Observations in Kerouac’s novel, Dean’s impact on Sal and Sal’s on Dean, among much else.. what do we have in this book?  And what does Kerouac want for his readers?  To act?  To do something, right?  He wants a reaction and he wants us to see something.. IT, right?  So what is IT?

Tonight…  Let’s write together, let’s share our interests in the book, what we want to write about and why?  Remember, connect JK’s novel to your own life.  That is, use what you have lived as a special interpretive lens.

Let’s see what we find!

-Mike

Bonjour, tout le monde!

19 Jun

Thank you all for a wildly wondrous first week!  Feel free to post anything below: comments on Reading, the freewrite we did yesterday (poetry).  Keep with your reads and start developing some focus with ‘Road’.  What speaks to you?  What do you find interesting?  And what does Kerouac say to you, personally?cup-of-coffee

With 7 weeks to go, we need to increase our pace.  My advice to you all: plan.  Time will win if you don’t.  Time loves to capitalize on the littlest of our follies.  If you plan and plot, measure your work appropriately, you’ll be inviolable (secure from destruction.. word of day…).  But, do, make time for you!  Like my Philosophy friend has always stressed, “You have to have fun!  You have to have fun, Mikey…” So, do.  I encourage you…..

Me, now, writing in a café looking at the clock, counting Time before having to leave for the winery.  Ugh, don’t you just sometimes wish for that day off, just one..  Enough of me, go enjoy your day, your story, your Road, your LIFE!

À bientot!

Mike

Merci, et Bonne Nuit!!!

16 Jun

Thank you all for a wonderful first night…  Everything from the discussions to the participation, Jack-Kerouac (1)willingness to participate, and our first in-class creative writing freewrite.  Feel free to share what you feverishly scribbled tonight, below!  If you wish to add to what you wrote or edit a bit, then fine!  But try to keep it as in tact as you can as to give us, your readers, and much a truthful taste of what you wrote in that brief ten-minute span.

Cheers!  I so very much look forward to seeing you all tomorrow night, and working with you over the next eight weeks….

Loyally, Yours,

Mike