elmollete said: What made you so interested in the Beat Generation? Where did you find all this information?
I wanted to make a blog with this exact idea, I searched for "beat generation" and found yours. Now I have it bookmarked. This is exactly what I was looking for, however I would love to start my own research and discover on my own rather than read everything on your blog (which I will anyway).
So where exactly did you start looking?
The Beat Gen is the quintessential definition of ‘cool’, at least it is for me, and since I wanted to be ‘hip and with it’, I started reading.
Always remember that there are reviews on books and stories scattered ‘round the internet and the Beat books themselves never fail to make themselves known in bookstores.
What got me started was my confusion. There was something about the whole movement that I never understood. I didn’t know why they didn’t follow social rites and norms or why they had to be so god damn different or how they could live such wistful lives that no one on this planet could hope to replicate. And so my curiosity got me reading.
I started with HOWL, and moved on from there. You can read whatever you want, however you want, whenever you want, in whatever the hell kind of order you want. The Beat Gen is kind of like a giant knot that you untie as you read; it all comes together in the end.
Happy Blogging and Godspeed.
It’s been about a month since George and I came to San Fran. He’s gone now. We came seeking knowledge and closure. We came for the culture of a different age that beat in the veins of California, but when we got there, it was dried up. Vaporized.
We drove around San Fran and L.A. and La Honda. We found the remains of the movement and the inspiration for this trip, but other than that, not too much. We went to the beat museum. We sipped on black coffee and puked it out because of the bitter assault on our taste buds and our minds. We tried Peyote plant and held it despite the awful taste.
But now the trip is over. The experience is done and George is gone. I live in an apartment with a friend I met at a bar. Her name is Claris. She and I now work at a restaurant not too far from where we live.
Looking back, I feel like this road trip was the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I may not be a veterinarian, or a doctor, or a king, but I’m happy and free. And I’ll never have a home. My home is on the road and goes wherever I go. I’m free to read what I want, experience what I want, live where I want. And that’s all I’ve ever wanted - freedom. Because I know that if I’m free, unrestrained from social or economic problems, I can do anything I put my mind to. I want to live a nomadic lifestyle.
So I decided to start over – new town, new friends, and new attitude. And if I feel tied down, I’ll always know that I can move away and start from scratch again.
This morning I woke up on a couch with a Mexican rug as my blanket and Daphne’s stomach as my pillow. Daphne is a friend from high school who moved to Florida after graduating. George was on the ground cradling a bottle of rum in his arms. Drool spilled out of his mouth. I only remember snippets of last night and that I went into a frenzy because I wanted to write about what was happening, so I opened up my laptop and began writing and speaking simultaneously even though no one was listening. After that, black out.
I feel groggy and ghostlike. I’m here and I exist, but it seems like I left the earth for a little while and I’m still going through customs. I may have lost my passport. I walk through this apartment, but my body is still on that couch. I am awake, but my body is still asleep. The transition to consciousness is mind numbing.
George and I have to start driving to San Fran today. We picked up some more booze for the ride there. Home is so very far away. The sun is gushing through the curtains, greeting us as young adults not teenagers. Even though I’m only seventeen, I feel like I’m not a kid anymore. I feel like I wasn’t a kid as soon as I burnt my tires to the ground when I drove to George’s house at eleven in the p.m. I ripped away the band-aid that I held so close for so long, nourishing my paper skin. I guess it’s time for me to grow up.
Maybe this is what Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady felt like when they were out of college. “What now? We’re out of college. The process is almost over. We just have to marry and have some offspring and then we’re done, right?” I wonder if they ever felt themselves transcend from kids to adults, or now that I think about it, if they made the transition at all. I’m still working through it. Hopefully I can gain a better footing when I get to California. After all, it was the same state where the major beat figures found themselves.
I made this blog at the beginning of the year with the intent of becoming a learned individual with a solid knowledge of the beat generation, nothing more. What ended up happening was beyond what I expected, and I mean that in the most non-cliché way possible.
I read the beat works, I read reviews, I asked other people what they thought about books or poems or stories, and I still don’t have a solid foundation. But even though I don’t have what I expected for me to have by the end of this year, I’ve still unraveled the spider web that is the Beat Generation. The cult that is the Beat Generation. Although I haven’t unraveled it fully, I’ve still untied it a tid.
I also picked up on style by reading beat works. I’ve picked up on writing style by identifying Burroughs’s and Carolyn Cassady’s styles and comparing them to my writing style, which I’ve been working on throughout this year. I’m no author, but I do aspire to be one.
The beats have taught me more than what it means to be down and hip. They’ve taught me more than peyote and LSD and mambo and letters. They taught me what it was like to start a generation of people that broke social norms. They taught me that it was okay to hit rock bottom and that I shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes, because I know now that if I never leave the house, how am I supposed to know that I could have made it to the other side of the street without dying? I never tried.
I’m more confident and open minded because of the beats, especially in terms of sexuality. The beats and my friends have single handedly ripped my prude nature away. I’ve learned that there’s no need to be so modest or ashamed of the human body anymore. It is what it is. Another reason I’m so confident is because the beats have shown me that it’s really possible for me to do anything I want or dream of doing. People say that we can’t do things, or that some things are just impossible to achieve. I think otherwise, not because I’m an optimistic sunflower, but because I know from reading that our impressions can be proven false, all it takes is a little motivation.
Where I live
"My dream has in it a wife beautiful beyond believe, not Maggie, some gorgeous new blond sexpot of starry perfection with lovely lace neck, soft long skin, interned mouth top - I picture the gorgeous… …a young beautiful American girl getting excited in your arms." - pg. 147 (Maggie Cassidy)