ON THE ROAD – “It will never be ‘yes’ again!”

January 3, 2010

                 On the Road by Jack Kerouac

     Where did it go so terribly wrong? It was that day we hesitated. Bought into the security of their rules—the “A” students, the Mortgage Bankers, the Chinese. Instead of the mad energy of anything is possible, we settled for accountability, the quantifiable.

     But remember: “Dean bought a car and is coming…  Suddenly I had a vision of Dean, a burning shuddering frightful Angel, palpitating toward me across the road, approaching like a cloud, with enormous speed… I saw his huge face over the plains with the mad body purpose and the gleaming eyes.” Money meant nothing, job titles meant nothing, even obligations to family were secondary to this beatific American vision.

     On the Road is not a book you read. It is a book you live. And one that is more important today than ever.

     After I first read it back in the late fifties, a friend and I hitchhiked out to San Francisco. There was something about that great stretch of land and about assuming each person we met along the way—whether they worked in a gas station, slept in a deserted truck trailer or knew someone who knew someone who might have a place we could crash for the night—had a story to tell that was important to hear. Now fifty years later we are pinned to a board like insects to be labeled, studied and pitied.

     No! Paradise is still out there. Still in us. Like the sign says that the author finds on the Mill City shack of his friends: If nobody’s home climb in through the window.

     “So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road, all the people dreaming in the intensity of it…the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore… I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”

Order On the Road for $12.99 directly from amazon. Click below:

           On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics)





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