On The Road Part One

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on June 11, 2019

PG has been home a few days. It is time to proceed with this book report of On The Road, the typing exercise of noted dipsomaniac Jack Kerouac. At the end of Road Trip, Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac) is in a Colorado ghost town. This was chapter 9 of OTR.

There are a couple of changes. The keyboard, connected to PG’s machine, died. It no longer typed o. Further investigation revealed it would not type q or t. Some numbers went missing. It is possible that other keys were not working. PG found a replacement keyboard. Unfortunately, the backspace key … an essential tool for a slack blogger … was just a regular single wide key, instead of the double wide backspace of the old keyboard. When the right pinkie instinctively strokes the backspace, \ is what shows up. This is going to take some lifestyle adjustment.

A book that PG wanted to talk about was in the vehicle. When he looked for the car key, it was not on the desk. The key was not in the pants PG had on, or the pants he had on the last night. The keys were not in the car. When he came back in the house last night, PG put the book down on the dining room table. That was where the car key was.

Back to the changes in the OTR narrative. PG ordered a better copy of OTR from the library. When it arrived, it was a deluxe paperback, printed in 1999, with a sticker price of $16.00. The 1970? edition, that PG was using, retailed for $1.25. PG got the arrival notice from the library June 4. Before he could go to the library, PG took his brother, GP, grocery shopping. While sitting in the Aldi parking lot, PG read page 62. Sal is in *Frisco*. “There were plenty of queers.” When PG put the book down to ponder that, he saw GP leaving Aldi’s.

This is chapter 11. Sal is living in a trailer outside the city. “the only community in America where whites and Negroes lived together voluntarily; and that was so, and so wild and joyous a place I’ve never seen since.” He is staying with Remi Boncoeur, an old friend. Remi argues with his wife, when he is not working as a security guard. Sal starts to work as a guard. Once Sal is called to a trailer. Some men are drinking, and behaving badly. “This is the story of America. Everybody’s doing what they think they’re supposed to do. So what if a bunch of men talk in loud voices and drink the night? But Sledge wanted to prove something.” Sal accepts their offer of a drink. It goes downhill from there. Eventually, some alcohol related nonsense estranges Sal and Remi.

On the bus to LA, Sal meets a Mexican lady named Terry. “I saw her poor belly where there was a Caesarean scar; her hips were so narrow she couldn’t bear a child without getting gashed open… I made love to her in the sweetness of the weary morning. Then, like two tired angels of some kind, hung-up forlornly in an L.A. shelf, having found the closest and most delicious thing in life together, we fell asleep and slept till late afternoon.” Money becomes an issue, and Sal/Terry go out to the San Joaquin Valley. Some friend of Terry’s brother has a business selling manure to farmers. Mostly gets drunk, with Sal’s eager assistance. Finally, Sal gets his aunt to send money, buys a bus ticket to New York, and leaves a heartbroken Terry in California.

At the end of chapter 14, Sal is in New York, broke, and trying to get to his aunt’s house in New Jersey. This is the end of part one. OTR is divided into five parts, each divided into a collection of short chapters. The rest of this series will deal with the parts, one at a time, along with whatever stories from 2019 are entertaining enough to include.

“I was going home in October. everybody goes home in October.” PG likes to compare his life to the story of Sal. PG has had a comparatively tame existence. The only time he ever came home in October was when he was at a faerie-do in Tennessee. In 1989, PG got home to hear about an earthquake in San Francisco. A week later, PG got through fixing a flat tire, and went up to his apartment to see the light flashing on the message machine. “Michael Mason died last night.”

A quote by Truman Capote comes up, when Jack Kerouac is mentioned. “Thats not writing, thats typing.” PG did a google search of the phrase in 2011. “Kerouac survives because he (allegedly) wrote great works; the insufferable logorrhea the Beats inspired biodegrades in niche bookstores because, sensibly, nobody reads it.” Google also found a book review of “Going Rogue,” by Sarah Palin … That’s not writing, that’s someone else typing.

Whenever PG hears a quote these days, he goes into fact checker mode. Did Mr. Capote really say TNWTT? Quote Investigator comes to the rescue. The phrase first came up in Paris Review: Truman Capote, The Art of Fiction No. 17. “The topic was writing style, and Capote responded by passing judgment … “But yes, there is such an animal as a nonstylist. Only they’re not writers. They’re typists. Sweaty typists blacking up pounds of Bond with formless, eyeless, earless messages.” Mr. Kerouac was not mentioned by name.

The next appearance of TNWTT was on the David Susskind show. The guests were Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and Dorothy Parker … who paid the bar tab when that was over? “Truman Capote agreed to appear on David Susskind’s “Open End” show, with Norman Mailer — who kept praising the Beat-Generation writers. Capote thought their product worthless. “It’s nothing,” he said. “That’s not writing; that’s just typewriting.” Again, this appears to be about the beats in generally, and not specifically about Mr. Kerouac. The quote lives on, long after Mr. Capote and Mr. Kerouac moved on to the cocktail party in the sky.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The chamblee54 On The Road series is complete. part one part two part three part four part five part six part seven

6 Responses

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  1. On The Road Part Two | Chamblee54 said, on June 25, 2019 at 11:45 am

    […] in the background. Jerry would have made a lousy headlight on a northbound train. Part one, and part two, of this series have been published. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Balboa Beach […]

  2. On The Road Part Three | Chamblee54 said, on July 10, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    […] Library of Congress. Previous installments of this series have been previously published. part one, part two, part three, part […]

  3. The Bike Wreck | Chamblee54 said, on July 14, 2019 at 9:21 am

    […] Library of Congress. Parts one through five of the series have already been published. part one part two part three part four part […]

  4. On The Road: The End | Chamblee54 said, on July 30, 2019 at 10:20 am

    […] soaked adventures of Dean and Sal. The previous installments of this series are available. part one part two part three part four part five part six Pictures for part seven today are from The Library of […]

  5. Family Barber Shop | Chamblee54 said, on July 30, 2019 at 11:22 am

    […] attractions at the Fourth of July celebrations The On The Road series is now complete. part one part two part three part four part five part six part […]

  6. Road Trip | Chamblee54 said, on July 30, 2019 at 11:34 am

    […] today are from The Library of Congress. The chamblee54 On The Road series is complete. part one part two part three part four part five part six part […]

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