Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Staycation

I tried reading Jack Kerouac's On the Road a couple times. I never got very far into it. I'm not sure if it was the writing style, the topic, or just my frame of mind, but I never really, to use a beat term: dug it, baby. I tried to read the thing probably three times and never got much further than. I did however, listen to it on cd one summer as drove to and from work. Matt Dillon read it and I was able to get through it. I think it helped that Matt Dillon's somewhat gravely voice kind of fit my idea of the tone of the book, if you will.

Did listening to it help me to enjoy the book any more? Not really. It became very repitious and I discovered the Kerouac tended to repeat phrases over and over again in his narrative. The one I remember that really started to bug me was "into the night." It got to the point of fingers on a chalkboard for me.

I may not have really liked the book, but I do appreciate that mythology that has been born because of it. For example that drug fueled manic writing over a three week period on a scroll. Truman Capote once quipped "that's not writing, that's typing" in reference to On the Road. I find the mythology to be quite interesting, actually.

The scroll that Kerouac wrote his famous opus on is now housed, for public presentation, in the Indianapolis Musuem of Art. It's gonig to be on display until late September. I'm planning on checking it out sometime this summer. It'll be cool to see the "sacred text" as one of the weekly newspapers here in Indy called it. From what I gather it was not typed on Associated Press scrolled paper, but instead something akin to tracing paper.

The owner of the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, owns the scroll. He paid upwards of two million dollars for it. When he bought it, he promised that he would allow it to be displayed and allow researchers acces to it. He's keeping his promise.

So, one of these days soon, I'm going to trek up to the IMA and give it an old looksee and I'm gonna dig on it, baby.


ds said...

I read something about it being at the IMA last weekend. We were in indy and were planning on going, but instead ate way too much greek food and drove home with bags full of new stuff stinking up 31 north.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

It traveled to the University of Iowa a couple years back, and I paid it a visit. Very interesting -- particularly the notes in the margins. Let me know what you think.