Tag Archives: jack kerouac

Disappearing for Invigoration – Postcard #78

Disappearing for Invigoration – Postcard #78
Disappearing for Invigoration – Postcard #78

Disappearing, invisibility, loneliness, depression, anxiety, being lost, trying to not be found, trying to find white space to invigorate… Sometimes these weave together, other times (perhaps) each remain exclusive.

Gord Downie, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski and me all try to figure out the nuance in different ways atop Turkish street music, trains from Kerala and Moncton, and various ephemeral music snippets.

Prepare to vanish with: Disappearing for Invigoration – Postcard #78 (23MB, 16:25, 192k mp3, stereo)

Continue reading Disappearing for Invigoration – Postcard #78

Mexican Loneliness – Jack Kerouac

Read in Postcards from Gravelly Beach Disappearing for Invigoration – Postcard #78 podcast, and shared here to read-along (for educational purposes), note: original source unknown.

Mexican Loneliness

And I am an unhappy stranger
grooking in the streets of Mexico-
My friends have died on me, my
lovers disappeared, my whores banned,
my bed rocked and heaved by
earthquake – and no holy weed
to get high by candlelight
and dream – only fumes of buses,
dust storms, and maids peeking at me
thru a hole in the door
secretly drilled to watch
masturbators fuck pillows –
I am the Gargoyle
of Our Lady
dreaming in space
gray mist dreams —
My face is pointed towards Napoleon
—— I have no form ——
My address book is full of RIP’s
I have no value in the void,
at home without honor, –
My only friend is an old fag
without a typewriter
Who, if he’s my friend,
I’ll be buggered.
I have some mayonnaise left,
a whole unwanted bottle of oil,
peasants washing my sky light,
a nut clearing his throat
in the bathroom next to mine
a hundred times a day
sharing my common ceiling –
If I get drunk I get thirsty
– if I walk my foot breaks down
– if I smile my mask’s a farce
– if I cry I’m just a child –
– if I remember I’m a liar
– if I write the writing’s done –
– if I die the dying’s over –
– if I live the dying’s just begun –
– if I wait the waiting’s longer
– if I go the going’s gone
if I sleep the bliss is heavy
the bliss is heavy on my lids
– if I go to cheap movies
the bedbugs get me –
Expensive movies I can’t afford
– if I do nothing
nothing does

Jack Kerouac

“Fck Stats, Make Art” Talk Transcription (Northern Voice 2008)

Dave Olsen Reads Rousseau

What follows is transcription of a talk called “Fck Stats, Make Art” at Northern Voice, 2008 in Vancouver, BC. Original audio (record by Jay Stewart who is identified as Speaker 1 below) exists, as does a “round-up” of photos, tweets, artifacts, and so on. See “Consider Perusing” below.

Speaker 1: We’re at Northern Voice 2008 in Vancouver BC at the University of British Columbia Forestry Science Center and I’m about to record Dave O’s presentation.  What is the name of the presentation?

Speaker 2: Fuck Stats Make Art.

Speaker 1: Fuck Stats Make Art.  It’s going to be a little bit controversial because he’s going to give a call to up the ante on quality of stuff people are posting.  He’s like, “It doesn’t matter if people are looking, it matters if it’s good content, that’s more important.”

Speaker 2: Certainly good content comes first and then you really [inaudible 00:01:06].

Speaker 1: I don’t need to know when people’s cats are going to the bathroom.  I see a lot of that on Twitter and other sites and stuff, you know?

Announcer: So, it’s my pleasure to introduce one of my best friends here Dave Olson.  He also works with me at Raincity Studios and I’m really excited that you guys get to hear him talk today.  I think this talk would be quite a bit different from everything else that you hear at Northern Voice.

I dragged, Dave, kicking and screaming in the world of Google Analytics and I just didn’t get it, just like every moment I spent either looking at my viewers or attracting new ones is one less moment I’m writing or doing something else that I love.  So, I always respected that about him.

He’s a poet, a filmmaker, an author, photographer and many other awesome things.  Anyway, I’ll leave it up to him to go with the rest.  So, welcome to Fuck Stats Make Art.  

Continue reading “Fck Stats, Make Art” Talk Transcription (Northern Voice 2008)

“Are You Worthy / Greeks to Geeks” talk transcription (Wordcamp Whistler, 2009)

IMG_0051

What follow is a transcription of a talk called “Are You Worthy – Publishing from Greeks to Geeks” at Wordcamp Whistler in 2009. Video and audio exists, as does a “round-up” of photos, tweets, artifacts, and so on. See “Consider Perusing” below.

Speaker: We really hoped you enjoyed today and I think you’re going to enjoy this last session.  I’ve been looking forward to it since we started planning this.  So with that I’m going to turn over to Dave Olson, he’s going to ask you, “Are you Worthy?”     

Dave: So, it’s the end of the day, my brain is a little stretched — a lot of input, a lot of stuff.  So, if you feel a little antsy, because frankly taking notes — I don’t know if I’m going to say anything that’s really worth taking notes.  

I’m just putting this out there, if you want to come and sit down here or you want to pull your chair over, I’m an old hippie, so I was on dead tour.  It’s all right you can come and sit down if you want.  No big deal by the way.   I’ll give you a moment to do that.  

My ulterior motive for asking you to do that is that I didn’t bring anything to put on the projector.  But I have lots of little odds and ends here.  So, you’ll get a better view if you come and sit up front.  That’s the way I like it — special shout-out to the ladies right back there.       

I almost said I didn’t make any slides but I did make two slides here because people are always telling me that, “Dave, we really like your presentations, but damn it, would you give us a bulleted list?”  

Continue reading “Are You Worthy / Greeks to Geeks” talk transcription (Wordcamp Whistler, 2009)

Discovery: The letter Jack Kerouac described as ‘The greatest piece of writing I ever saw’

Discovery: The letter Jack Kerouac described as ‘The greatest piece of writing I ever saw’

Considered ‘lost’ for 66 years, Neal Cassady’s visionary ‘Joan Anderson letter’ is a foundational document of the Beat era and the inspiration for Kerouac’s literary revolutions, beginning withOn the Road

Neal Cassady’s long-lost letter to Jack Kerouac, dated 17 December 1950, has permeated virtually every conversation about the Beat era. Referenced not only by Kerouac but by Allen Ginsberg, Laurence Ferlinghetti, Herbert Hunke, and a host of their contemporaries, Cassady’s fluid, incantatory, and deeply revealing prose influenced the entire generation of Beat writers.

The letter was written on a three-day Benzedrine high, Cassady later confessed. It contained, by Kerouac’s first calculation, at least 13,000 words and ran to 40 pages, offering a compelling, unaffected and discursive account of Cassady’s frenetic love life in 1946, particularly with Joan Anderson (whom he visited in a hospital after a failed suicide), and ‘Cherry Mary’, recounting an acrobatic escape through a bathroom window when they were surprised by Mary’s aunt. The uninhibited, non-literary narrative pointed the way to the free, truthful style to which Kerouac aspired.

Overwhelmed by what he read, Kerouac wrote ecstatically to Cassady on 27 December: ‘I thought it ranked among the best things ever written in America… it was almost as good as the unbelievably good ‘Notes from the Underground’ of Dostoevsky… You gather together all the best styles… of Joyce, Céline, Dosy… and utilize them in the muscular rush of your own narrative style & excitement. I say truly, no Dreiser, no Wolfe has come close to it; Melville was never truer.’

Cassady, Neal (1926-1968). Typed letter completed in autograph and with autograph additions, corrections, and deletions in pencil and pen, to Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), Denver, 17 December 1950. 18 pages, comprising nearly 16,000 words, some pale browning and minor marginal chipping. Estimate $400,000-600,000. This lot is offered in the Books & Manuscripts sale on 16 June at Christie’s

Cassady, Neal (1926-1968). Typed letter completed in autograph and with autograph additions, corrections, and deletions in pencil and pen, to Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), Denver, 17 December 1950. 18 pages, comprising nearly 16,000 words, some pale browning and minor marginal chipping. Estimate: $400,000-600,000. This lot is offered in the Books & Manuscripts sale on 16 June at Christie’s New York. © Cathy Sylvia Cassady, Jami Cassady and John Cassady

© Cathy Sylvia Cassady, Jami Cassady and John Cassady
© Cathy Sylvia Cassady, Jami Cassady and John Cassady

In an interview published in the Summer 1968 issue of The Paris Review, Kerouac famously hailed the letter’s impact: ‘I got the idea for the spontaneous style of On the Road from seeing how good old Neal Cassady wrote his letters to me, all first person, fast, mad, confessional, completely serious, all detailed, with real names in his case, however (being letters).’

Nearly everyone who knew Cassady was struck by his natural verbal virtuosity as a monologist. Kerouac’s first wife, Joan Haverty Kerouac, recounted his tales of ‘cares and escapades, jail memories and women and nights and blues’, though she was certain that no writing ‘could… capture the vitality and intensity of the voice I now heard, describing everything in such a way that lived it just by listening.’

Never read, or merely neglected, the letter remained untended until its discovery in 2012

As with many documents of the era, the ‘Joan Anderson’ letter travelled a complex path through many hands, and for the majority of the last 66 years was considered lost. After being entranced by it and responding, Kerouac gave the letter to Allen Ginsberg to read and offer to publishers.

Ginsberg then took the letter to his friend Gerd Stern, who was living in Sausalito in California on a houseboat and working as a West Coast rep for Ace Books. Within the tight Beat nexus, Ginsberg and Stern formed a bond after meeting at the mental facility where they were both introduced to (Howl-dedicatee) Carl Solomon. Solomon’s uncle owned Ace Books, and it was Ace that had published William S. Burroughs’ Junkie in 1953.

Despite their enthusiasm, Ace rejected publication of Cassady’s typescript and it was returned by Stern to Ginsberg. The letter then went missing and the story was born — perpetuated most emphatically by Kerouac — that it had been lost over the side of Stern’s boat.

In fact, Cassady’s letter had been preserved in the files of the Golden Goose Press. Owned by Ginsberg and Stern’s friend R.W. ‘Dick’ Emerson, the Golden Goose Press was known for publishing some of the finest poets of the period, and for making audio recordings of their readings. Emerson placed the envelope containing the letter on his ‘to read’ pile. Never read, or merely neglected, it remained untended until its discovery in 2012 by Jean Spinosa.

No records of any sales are recorded in the online databases for any Cassady material, let alone for material of this literary consequence

Ginsberg later had no memory of giving the Joan Anderson Letter to Stern, and when Emerson closed the Golden Goose Press the letter was packed further into obscurity. It may have been lost for ever had not John ‘Jack’ Spinosa, Emerson’s officemate at 40 Gold Street in San Francisco, insisted on preserving the press’s archives when they were forced to vacate their rental space.

Spinosa recognized that literary history was preserved in those files, and saved them from being thrown away as Emerson cleared the office. The boxes remained with Spinosa and his wife Kathleen Cohan until after his death on 29 November 2011. On the following 15 May, Jack’s daughter Jean discovered this long-lost treasure of post-war American literature, buried among the files of the Golden Goose Press.

Only a fragment of the letter has ever been published — 14 years after it was written, and after the great works it influenced had come out. A portion of the letter, apparently copied by Kerouac before he passed it on to Ginsberg, was published in 1964 by John Bryan in his Notes from Underground #1, where it was called ‘The First Third’. Bryan claimed that Cassady himself came to help print it, while the title suggests that Cassady was by this time considering it as the first portion of his ongoing autobiography.

The same extract was published by City Lights in 1971 as an addendum to Cassady’s book The First Third, and later formed the basis of the 1997 film The Last Time I Committed Suicide, directed by Stephen T. Kay, and starring Thomas Jane and Keanu Reeves.

It is an understatement to remark that Neal Cassady material is scarce at auction: it is unprecedented. No records of any sales are recorded in the online databases for any Cassady material, let alone for material of this literary significance. The circumstances of its preservation and appearance at auction constitute a unique opportunity to acquire a foundational post-war literary manuscript that transcends its humble origins as a ‘letter’.

The complete extant archive of the Golden Goose Press, in which was discovered Neal Cassady’s groundbreaking ‘Joan Anderson Letter.’ Sausalito, California, 1950s-60s. Together nearly 200 pamphlets, letters, pieces of ephemera, and related material. A complete list is available on request. Estimate $10,000-15,000. This lot is offered in the Books & Manuscripts sale on 16 June

Jack Kerouac Writer in Residence Program of Orlando

Jack Kerouac Writer in Residence Program of Orlando

Map of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

Map of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

Glimpse inside the St. Petersburg home where Jack Kerouac lived

Glimpse inside the St. Petersburg home where Jack Kerouac lived

Where Writers Write: The Homes of Jack Kerouac | WritersDigest.com

Where Writers Write: The Homes of Jack Kerouac | WritersDigest.com

Paris Review – The Art of Poetry No. 8, Allen Ginsberg

Paris Review – The Art of Poetry No. 8, Allen Ginsberg