When I first read “On the road” it changed me. His prose opened up something sacred, something unknown in me. It spoke to me.
I was the perfect age. Early 20’s, listening to 60’s rock n roll, having long hair, searching for the compliment to jim morrison’s poetry. I think I read “on the road” during the summer.
I wanted to be in the middle of him and moriarity (Neal Cassady) in a car driving from one coast to another. See, I was never the teenager who wanted to think about being a teenager. I didn’t want to read teenage shit, I was above that shit, even while I was in the middle of that shit. I wanted out, out of my life, out of my scene, out of my town, out of my family. I wanted out.
Kerouac’s prose is music. I say it in the present tense because his words still seem so fresh to me. His words read like a song, his images are a string of notes, it’s a thing of beauty. I love his works because it’s realistic. It’s not trying to be anything but what it is. It’s beat, it’s rhythm, it’s simple and complex. It’s a fuck it all attitude with a heavy dose of catholic guilt, it’s loneliness, it’s sex, it’s booze, it’s living on nothing and typing on speed. It’s life. It’s looking out your window and typing what you see.
I wanted to be a writer before reading Kerouac. But after Kerouac, I knew it was really possible. It was as if my whole world peeled open like a ripe orange. Everything was new, words were bountiful, and it was okay if my poems didn’t rhyme. I wanted them to sing. I was open to everything, I saw poetry in the spinning of tires, falling leaves, the wrinkles in a boy’s hands, the blink of an eye, the dance of smoke. The whole world had poems flying through the air for me to catch. Self doubt didn’t exist.