Friday, March 6, 2015



  1. Going on the road? Never got to Denver when I was out west. Would have liked to have visited some of those sites if I had the chance.

    I hear Kerouac's Denver no longer exists, to a much larger extent than most cities have changed in that time.

    Then again, the Philadelphia of David Goodis, from around that same time, has probably changed at least as much.

    A lot of people came to America to forget, and I suppose that's hardwired in our national DNA. We're complete shits at historic preservation, in general. Around here, they're tearing down, at a rate of 4 or 5 per year now, solid mid-19th century buildings (warehouses, textile mills, churches), to put up blocks of shitty, cheap, 'modernist' townhouses, which completely fail to relate to their surroundings, for people with too much money and no aesthetic taste. The arguments in favor go "oh, there's still a couple hundred of those buildings left," for now. In ten years, I imagine it'll go "oh, there's still 100 or so of those left." By the time we get to "oh, there's still a dozen or so of those buildings left," we'll hit our Penn Station Moment. Decades too late. And then, poof! We're another Nowhere, full of Nothing in Particular, distinguishable only from Phoenix or Columbus by weather, and the area codes on our billboards.

    Well, this comment quickly became depressing! I should go for a long walk this morning, while I can still find my way around using actual landmarks...

    1. Kerouac is kind of a tragic figure.

      Somewhere in a collection of essay, Vonnegut writes about how a mutual friend introduced him to Kerouac at Vonngut's home in, I believe, New England.

      They played cards for awhile and Kerouac was drunk. At one point he threw the deck across the room.

      Later, Vonnegut's son, Mark (who also later became something of a writer) returned home from college that afternoon. This was the late 60s, shortly before Kerouac drank himself to death, and Mark had long hair.

      Kerouac, who was known for his dislike of hippies, to Vonnegut's astonishment, challenged his son to a fight.

      Vonnegut was happy that his son did not take Kerouac up on the offer, because Kerouac was in his late 40s, fat, and drunk, whereas his son, Mark, was about 20 years old, in peak physical condition, and on the university wrestling squad. In short, he could have murdalized Kerouac if he had wanted to.

      Vonnegut wrote that he felt like he never did actually meet Jack Kerouac and that the man he did meet was a pin-wheel.