The scroll’s home in Lowell, as the 50th Anniversary of “On The Road” looks for intellectual fanbase to bring Beatnik journey into a more credible literary light.
“On The Road” At Home In Lowell
By: Cody Kucker
I thought I knew Kerouac until I stumbled late into an assembly of arduously researched Kerouac buffs at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell where the university hosted a week long conference on Jack Kerouac in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his classic novel “On The Road”.
Kerouac was a native of Lowell, Massachusetts before he fathered the “Beat Generation” with his counter culture novel “On the Road” describing numerous trips across the country with his counter part Neal Kassady (Dean Moriarty) in the late 1940’s and early 50’s.
Discussions have gravitated to the controversy over the novel since it’s publication in 1957, after Kerouac completed the transcript in just three weeks in the Spring of 1952.
When asked why despite such controversy corporate America had grown to love and accept Kerouac and market the Beatniks, key note speaker Robert Koppelman responded: “They we’re not criminals besides a few instances of petty theft or rebels, but misfits, especially Kerouac, in search of a wife and a home and the same American dream that corporations we’re selling.”
After being humbled by a room full of college educators, “On the Road” hard copy’s tightly in their hand, circumspection in their faces with nice, sophisticated suit coats, I inquired with Rick Thibeault who sells Kerouac paraphernalia outside the conference room of where I could find the original scroll. When asked how he felt about Kerouac as a novelist and a local, a life long Lowell native as well, he told me, “We love Jack, We’re glad its here to enjoy it while we can. We got pride in our people around here.”
Finally I got to the Boot Cotton Mills where a Kerouac exhibit is holding the original “On the Road” scroll until October 14th. The scroll is 119.5 feet long, consisting of 10 separate 12 foot long sheets taped at the corners, one paragraph spanning the entire length and tattooed with pencil corrections throughout. The scroll is owned by, ironically enough, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, Mr. James Irsay who is allowing it to tour the country before adding it to his collection. I suggest taking advantage while you can to catch a glimpse of this amazing relic. For information on exhibit hours, events, tours and history of Jack Kerouac and the scroll visit : http://www.ontheroadinlowell.org/
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
There I was, a mere four months ago, packing my bags once again for another endeavor of discovery and a search for all the right sensations and the sticky adhesive that was nirvana, here on Earth, tucked away somewhere in the Rockie Mountains or in a chasm somewhere along the Pacific highway. I saw crystal clear, 'Man of the Wild', lving off the land like some troll beckoning tourists for company, while spending my nights as a whisper in a tranquil firmament of thrusting erosion. There wasn't any certain place I had in mind, be it the meadows in the Dakotas where I declared I would die, or the icy peaks of Colorado and the crisp feel of natural eloquence holding the skin like some sort of gelatin massaging wet suit. I strived to get lost in those woods until I felt the frigid essence that the early summer snowpatches were still capable of radiating unto your shivering bodt cuddled up next to them. Things were looking up in my search for a passage into a sublime oblivion, a little more of this and little more of that and I'd have my homestead, I'd have a reason to never return. So we moved on up through Wyoming where the Tetons help to absorb some of Yellowstone's overwhelming maginificient, but those woods are no place for man, modern man at least, to make a home of, it would be impeding the modern natural order of things, my species has alkready claimed too much, but secretly I knew it would only be a matter of time before I convinced myself that I was "one" with the bear or moose, in denial of the fact that I was only dinner. So we left the grand scale of beauty behind and went through the smooth rolling hills of Montana and moved on to Washington, which I found to be as close to a New England home in the Northwest, Port Angeles, was basically Bangor but it was too gray and too rainy and I only find my morose moods so pleasurable because they last for a day or two in Mass. but your pushing a week maybe two consecutively along the Washington Peninsula. I was losing hope and fearing the expiration of my wanderlust, it had been 6 weeks of 'we're never leaving here, nope, staying right here, under this tree until this campground ain't free no more.' Oregon's allure was the greatest of all, you had cities that were small towns in disguise, river traffick in the hiot sun of every type of person imaginable floating along on their pool float, ten minutes from the city center, drinking beers and having their children paddle while everyone waved to the nudists for the mile long liberation stretch and I felt like we found it, until we checked the bankroll and took into consideration, finding some job to earn enough to get a place, while living in the car in a city with not one single free parking spot. California was all anybody has ever said it to be and that was why we couldn't stake land there and because I had this chronic paranoia that my girlfriend was in love with this weed growing commune dweller, who I envied as well and so I had uys moving on, shooting down that coast until we got to a spot of impossible relocation, San Francisco looking for at least a grand for a one bedroom. There was still hope of that soul mnagnet placed under ground somewhere on this great American plane, I could fill its tickle or maybe that was the west coasts icy night mi9st which I realized it was because once we turned east we hit the desert and at that point we wanted nothing more than to hit 80 and cruise back through those 3,000 miles and find the soothing spots we know along the river in Townsend and the hypnotic sound of the Kangusmangas. And when we finally got here, I regretted being so critical of my northeast lqandscape, granted we don't have 15,000 foot peaks or rivers that will swallow you on any given day but you have to love that fat Merrimack and we might not be able to get lost and stand on a cliff and see a blood red sun be swept away from us, but New England is beautiful and warm with people who speak fast and love hard. It is modest and mysterious, looking for no acclaim just breathing and relaxing, like the wiser, older brother not looking for any attention just an appreciation. I guess I found, that I've always had a home.
Posted by Fx211-F08 35804 Academic Writing about Literature, instructor Cody Kucker at 5:14 AM