My Affair with Jack Kerouac

I had a love affair with Jack Kerouac, well have a love affair with Mr. Kerouac.

This is not an affair as in they physical terms of course and the main problem with that being that he died 22 years before I was even born.  With his books however, we have a ravenous, growing affair, one that seeps into every inch of my being, taking hold of my mind, of my spirit.  I can’t shake this addiction, I’m addicted to Jack Kerouac. 

I guess I need to revise my confession from a previous blog.  Hi. I’m Meg and I’m a semi-loosely considered-hoarder who is endlessly, hopelessly addicted to Jack Kerouac.

I’ve always wanted to read On The Road.  I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it and there are documentaries and tons of publications and documentaries about Kerouac.  Finally, Freshman year of college I pick up On The Road (the extended on though, names unchanged, parts unedited).

Some people think this book is about traveling and his travels.  Basically that is what it’s about, but he is really on the search for God, or proof something more exists, believe that he doesn’t have “it” (whatever “it” is) in his life.  He follows Neal all around the country, going down Neal’s table of contents, the various women, homes and children that make up the life of Neal Cassidy, believing Neal found the answer to life, something Kerouac himself had missed.

Kerouac’s ability to write is absolutely incredible and interesting.  Sometimes he goes on about something, not something terribly important, but of course it’s more eloquently put than the average person, but other times, he finds red.  Let me explain this, an average detail would be a bland color, like beige like a wall.   But red, describe red to me!?  Red is lust and love and death and life and sadness and anger and happiness!  All of that is in red because red  is too hard to explain.  Kerouac’s red are his moments of insight, that are beautiful and deep and hit you so hard you feel the impact.

I do think that people tend to glamorize him a little too much though.  I think he was a very sad man and I feel very sorry for him.  Obviously, I’m basing that opinion off of the books of his I read (which is a continually growing list), documentaries I watch and other information I found.  From his drugs to alcohol abuse, I think he was very sad because he kept looking for something he already had, life.  Same with artists like Janice Joplin.  She was incredible, words can’t describe the emotion she put into her music (her red), her talent is something you will NEVER find in any of the popular singers of now, nothing even comes close, but I think she was a sad person and was lost.  I feel like sometimes people tend to glamorize deaths like that, of talented people instead of realizing how sad it really is and learning by their mistakes.

I had my time in life, a time where I was searching for something, that ‘it’ all through high school.  High school was rough, I was going through a lot of things, family, personal and otherwise, but I was really lost, a little more lost than the average teenager and going through things that could’ve really hurt myself, physically and mentally.  The love and support of my parents kept me out of trouble and on track with things like school, but inside I was just drowning within myself.

Then I read On The Road and found these moment of insight he has and they inspired me.  I realized too that I don’t want to be like him, I don’t want to be lost in myself, always looking for something.  I’m alive and life is beautiful, life is hard, but life is beautiful.  I found faith.  I found joy. 

In every moment of my life, when life is hard somehow Kerouac always reaches through, almost like my guardian angel.  Every single time when things get rough, the next page I turn in my book has one of his insights, something that touches me deep and it’s in these times when I need it the most. 

Life is not to drown in or search forever.  Life is to be embraced because by living you are blessed with an amazing gift that you shouldn’t waste.  There are bad times, but those make the good times even better.  Life is more good than bad and once you see that, everything will just fall into place.

“On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars – Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another word.” ~Jack Kerouac, Big Sur, 1962~


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