Friday, August 26, 2016

ROAD by George Lenker

(c) 2016 George Lenker

Below is a poem by George Lenker of Northampton, MA, a friend of my great friend and Kerouacian brother, Richard Marsh. It fits the spirit of this blog nicely. George wrote this poem while walking down the above road in the Meadows. It was inspired by Lucinda Williams when he was interviewing her about being on the road (George writes for the local newspaper).

Thanks for letting me post your poem here on The Daily Beat, George.


ROAD
by George Lenker

We will die on road.
For road is all there is.
Endless asphalt, urgent dirt
Paths between the suncows.

Things have changed since we were young.
But road remains the same.
Inviting but unloving arms
That never quite embrace

Road is silent, yet it speaks
With rumbles of combustion and
Clanks of pancake platters
Long, lone whistles, barrel fires
The flutter of a midnight train

Road is just an endless dream
With no destination
Road is only you and me
The space that burns between us.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Angelina Jolie, Caster Semenya, Brazil v. Germany, NASCAR, and Jack Kerouac



Every once in a while it is fun to Angelina Jolie with Google search trends data, sort of a Caster Semenya approach to the Brazil v. Germany rivalry over which NASCAR racer to root for. Notice how I worked the terms from the post title into that sentence? It probably won't fool the Google bots, but let's see how many pageviews this post gets compared to a typical day when I don't try to cheat the system.

As long as you landed here, first of all I extend my apologies if you're not a Jack Kerouac fan and was fooled by my use of top trending Google search terms. If you're a regular reader, here's some content for your trouble (and maybe it will turn the former into the latter). By the way, be warned: this is inane content at best....

Let's play "What does that have to do with Jack Kerouac?"

Angelina Jolie: It seems like she is trending because of either a recent death hoax or stories about her divorcing long-time husband Brad Pitt. It was no hoax that Kerouac died October 21, 1969. Here is a link to his obit in the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/books/97/09/07/home/kerouac-obit.html. And speaking of divorces, Jack was no stranger to that ordeal, having divorced first wife Edie Parker and second wife Joan Haverty  before marrying third wife Stella Sampas.

Caster Semenya: I assume she is trending for winning gold in the Rio Olympics 800 meter race amid controversy over her being "hyperandrogenous." Kerouac was a sports fan, especially baseball, and so he might have been generally interested in the Olympics. He certainly might have found the controversy over Semenya's possible hyperandrogenous condition an interesting one since pushing and blurring societally-constructed sexual mores were staples of the Beat Generation.

Brazil v. Germany: This is trending for being the gold medal match in women's beach volleyball. Like Semenya, Kerouac may have had an interest in this as a sports fan. I'll avoid the inappropriate and pruriently obvious connection one could make....

NASCAR: A weather delay at Bristol probably pushed this search term to a top ranking. The Kerouac connection? I'm not familiar with Jack being a NASCAR fan; indeed, races weren't televised much until the 70s, so he would have been mainly relegated to reading about NASCAR in the newspaper or attending a race in person (which I don't think he did). Were he alive today would he be a NASCAR fan? He might have a passing interest, but my guess is no.

There you have it: tenuous connections between Jack Kerouac and top-trending Google search terms. After some time has passed I'll let you know if including such terms in this post seems to have influenced pageview numbers.

Everything connects to Kerouac. Happy Sunday!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Satori in Paris re-read

The edition of Satori in Paris I just read
In preparation for Lowell Celebrates Kerouac this October, over the last two days I re-read Jack Kerouac's Satori in Paris. Widely acknowledged as a lesser of his works, the novel still contains enough of Jack's spirit -- albeit a somewhat alcohol- and age-affected and therefore diminished spirit -- to keep a Kerouac fan interested. At least it kept me interested enough to finish it in a couple of sessions (it's not that long).

As with many of Jack's works, there is a lot to take in, especially with all the place names, historical allusions, and other references he so frequently drops amidst his prose. Don't look for the soaringly poetic prose Jack is known for in his more famous works because it doesn't make much of an appearance.

If you're attending LCK this October, it would be a good idea to re-read Satori in Paris in honor of its 50th anniversary that is being celebrated there. That suggestion is just my opinion and to my knowledge there will be no "extreme vetting" to see if you've done so.

Even if you're not attending LCK this October, I recommend reading Satori in Paris, especially if you fancy yourself a Kerouac fan and have not already done so. It's part of the oeuvre and is therefore essential reading.

Here are a couple of quotes from the book that you may have seen before:
Methinks women love me and then they realize I'm drunk for all the world and this makes them realize I cant [sic] concentrate on them alone, for long, makes them jealous, and I'm a fool in Love With God, Yes. (p. 25)
My manners, abominable at times, can be sweet. As I grew older I became a drunk. Why? Because I like ecstasy of the mind. I'm a Wretch. But I love love. (p. 28)

Happy reading!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

In celebration of 500,000 all-time pageviews of The Daily Beat: Win a copy of The Beat Handbook (UPDATED 8-17-16)


Some time this morning, August 14, 2016, according to Google stats for this blog, the 500,000th pageview took place. I have no way to know who it was or from whence it emanated, but nevertheless . . . it happened. Huzzah and yair!

Thus, as announced previously, the first person to respond to this post will win a signed copy of The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions. Remember, even if it's not your cup of tea, you can re-gift it, use it as a paperweight, shim up a crooked coffee table, or even start your next campfire with its pages. It's a very useful thing to win!

I'll inscribe it to you or whomever you wish, and I'll indicate its significance (i.e., a celebration of hitting half a million pageviews). Once I confirm a winner, we'll communicate by e-mail about a mailing address.

So don't wait! Respond directly to this post and you might win a signed copy of The Beat Handbook!

UPDATE: We have a winner! See the comments below....

Happy Half a Million Pageviews Day! Now, on to a million.


P.S. This offer is open to anyone, even if you've won a copy before, already have your own copy, or are posting from a far-off land. As long as you have a mailing address on Planet Earth, you're eligible. We've sent copies of The Beat Handbook literally all over the world.


Coming up: Half a million pageviews for The Daily Beat



As I type this, The Daily Beat is at 499,998 all-time pageviews. That means later today we will likely hit the half million mark. That's not a big deal in the grand scheme of blogs, but it's a big deal in my world. I started this blog in 2008 (July 15 to be precise), coinciding with the publication of my book, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions (available at Amazon). I don't remember when I started counting pageviews with Google's built-in stats, but it wasn't at the very beginning so the current number is low.

For a long time I was posting something daily, but life got in the way and the best I've done in recent years has been my weekly posting since the beginning of 2016 (a "streak," to use the terminology of my friend Kathleen Thompson from her book, The Project-Driven Life, also on Amazon).

To celebrate, when we hit half a million pageviews I am going to post an alert about it and offer a signed copy of my book to the first person to post a response to that post (not to this one).

For perspective, half a million dollar bills stacked neatly atop each other would be approximately 358 feet tall, about the height of a 30-35 story building. Half a million pageviews, all thanks to Jack Kerouac's genius and my persistence.

Stay tuned for the announcement!


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2016 (and the secret word)



Each year, a dedicated group of Kerouacians put on the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival in Jack's beautiful home town of Lowell, Massachusetts. This year is no different and the festival is slated for October 6-10. You can view and download the schedule at this link: http://www.lowellcelebrateskerouac.org/festival.

Notice that this year the central focus is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Satori in Paris. If you haven't read that particular Kerouac novel yet, it's time -- especially if you plan to attend LCK this year (which I highly recommend). You will note that there is a marathon reading of Satori scheduled for Saturday. Unfortunately, we have to sneak away to a wedding that happens to be in Massachusetts that day and will miss it, but I encourage you to sign up. I participated in a marathon reading of The Dharma Bums at LCK in 2008, and it was a lot of fun (you can read about it here: http://thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/report-from-lowell-celebrates-kerouac_07.html)!

As regular readers know, for several years I have promised a signed copy of my book to the first person to whisper a secret word in my ear at the festival. Last year the secret word was "subterraneans," but, sadly, no one took me up on the offer, This year the secret word is "satori," and I hope someone will make the effort to win a free book! Hey, even if you don't like it for its reading value, it makes a great drink coaster, can be used to level a ladder, makes a great fire-starter, and, if nothing else, you can resell it on Amazon -- there's a used copy on there right now for $65.94 (https://www.amazon.com/Beat-Handbook-100-Days-Kerouactions/dp/1439204748/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228928544&sr=8-1).

LCK! kicks off with the traditional Kerouac pubs tour on Thursday night, and we plan to be there in time for that event. It's a nice way to kick off the festival, strolling through Lowell from pub to pub with like-minded Kerouacians and enjoying a couple of adult beverages along the way. Check the schedule for other events that may strike your fancy. I particularly like Talking Jack on Friday and the Commemorative at the Commemorative and Open Mike at the Old Worthen (which we'll miss), but everything is worthwhile, from the Parker Lecture to tours by docents like Roger Brunelle and Bill Walsh.

You may be wondering where to stay while in Lowell, and I don't have great news about that. There is literally only one downtown hotel, the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center, and it is almost always booked solid. We are staying at the Courtyard by Marriott just out of town in nearby Chelmsford. The good news is that you can park for free at the National Historical Park in Lowell, which is nearby most events. Or you can take a quick cab ride as we have done in the past.

To sum, we'll see you this October in Lowell for the 2016 Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival. You'll have a great time and you'll be helping keep alive the legacy of Jack Kerouac for future generations.










Sunday, July 31, 2016

Kerouac Sunday

If you Google "Kerouac Sunday," you will get a number of search results.

The first result I get is my blog post from July 3 which you can read here: http://thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com/2016/07/a-sunday-haiku-for-jack-kerouac.html

The second result I get is for a piece of clothing called a Sunday Best Kerouac Jacket. You can see it here: http://us.aritzia.com/product/kerouac-jacket/52134.html. I wonder if they got permission from the Kerouac Estate to use his name?

The third result for me is this quote on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/7299513-sunday-morning-i-empty-of-my-little-tricks-to-make-life. I recommend Goodreads, by the way. It's a place to keep track of books you have read and want to read, and to connect with other readers.

Further results range from a Sunday event at The Beat Museum to a FeMMFest Sunday evening at Kafe Kerouac to a Google Books result for Subterranean Kerouac.

Here's a Sunday quote from Chapter 16 of my favorite Kerouac novel, The Dharma Bums:
And that's what I said to myself, "I am now on the road to Heaven." Suddenly it became clear to me that there was a lot of teaching for me to do in my lifetime. As I say, I saw Japhy before I left, we wandered sadly to the Chinatown park, had a dinner in Nam Yuen's, came out, sat in the Sunday morning grass and suddenly here was this group of Negro preachers standing in the grass preaching to desultory groups of uninterested Chinese families letting their kiddies romp in the grass and to bums who cared just a little bit more. A big fat woman like Ma Rainey was standing there with her legs out­spread howling out a tremendous sermon in a booming voice that kept breaking from speech to blues-singing music, beau­tiful, and the reason why this woman, who was such a great preacher, was not preaching in a church was because every now and then she just simply had to go sploosh and spit as hard as she could off to the side in the grass, "And I'm tellin you, the Lawd will take care of you if you re-cognize that you have a new field . . . Yes!"— and sploosh, she turns and spits about ten feet away a great sploosh of spit. "See," I told Japhy, "she couldn't do that in a church, that's her flaw as a preacher as far as the churches are concerned but boy have you ever heard a greater preacher?"
I suspect Sunday was a sacred day to Jack, given his bent for Catholicism. I count 9 instances of Jack using the word Sunday in Bums. I'll share some others in the future.