“Vibratory atmospheric atoms of the life-principle…Look at the silly men…Where go? What for?—sleep. But this foolish gang was bending on-ward…The rhythm and the IT of our final excited joy in talking and living to the blank tranced end of all innumerable riotous angelic particulars that had been lurking in our souls all our lives…What’s your road, man?”Jack Kerouac, On The Road
I start this New Year with lines taken out of pages 152 through 251 of Jack Kerouac’s ‘On The Road.’ I’d scribbled these into the upper-right corner of a page that was otherwise taken up by an anarchist flyer that asks, in Turkish, “hangisi maske”—which mask?
I wrote those words during a difficult time some years ago, when that question was pressing, and when reading fiction to answer it seemed like a good idea. The used book salesman confirmed that the story would indeed be a rite of passage; people kept buying it, and he kept having to restock his inventory.
I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and eventually found myself adopting Mr. Kerouac as a patron saint of cliched angst. So I write these words today as an incantation of sorts, after ending my year the day before last with a brief pilgrimage to beatnik America on a progeny of the iconic bus that makes up the backbone of his novel.
This completes the circle first started in Dora. Blessed Jack, pray for us and for our onward journey.