search for a new land

the beat hotel

just finished reading the awakener, an autobiography of sorts by helen weaver...
i say of sorts, as it's about her, and some of the important people she knew from the beat generation, and beyond... this includes kerouac, ginsberg et al... basically the only writers to ever matter to me...
i speak from experience, these people inspired me!
great book - filled with insight into how it felt to be in on the birth of the beat generation, from within its inner circle(even though kerouac himself felt he had to be on the fringes of society, in order for him to be able to look in on it).
i know a lot of my outlook is inspired by on the road, i spent a lot of time in my late teens, till mid twenties - travelling on coaches and trains, up and down the country, and beyond - just to explore and to move!
Xmas 2008
my appreciation of new places, and of familiar grimy cities was always flavoured by the outlook of kerouac's characters and writing.
last year, we were in spain, and came back a day early just to see the on the road scroll, that was doing the rounds.
i even got a wink off carolyn cassady, now a feisty old lady!
carolyn cassady
i bought helen's book, in shakespeare and co. in paris, near the beat hotel, next to the seine.
shakespeare and company

like helen, i didn't get on the road, the first time i read it either.
i couldn't get my head round the new style of writing that i was being presented with... it took me a few months of growing up, before i read it again, and the penny dropped, and suddenly i'd found my manifesto for living.
ok, not all of it applied to me, the drugs and debauchery never really reached me somehow, but the urge to break-out from a stifling small town, and put my feet on new soil was crystalised in on the road.
as ever
i was looking for something too... and i was even a cross-cultural catholic bhuddist at one point(i hold a lot of bhuddist teachings in high regard, and they do really complement catholicism, if you are open-minded enough to avoid dogmatism...)
helen's biog also mentions lenny bruce, another hero of mine... always interesting to see the man behind the myth.
i've read a lot of kerouac books, and books about kerouac(that gives me an idea for a selection of reviews!) and this is up there with all of them, as a great insight into what really happened, outwith all the hype that surrounded the beat generation, and of course the beat generation writers own accounts, which were given to a lot of mystical hyperbole(and why not, that's what life is all about!).
kerouac/doctor sax
of course, it is also good to read about real life in those times, which is also important from a historical point.
i'm still quite jealous of people who lived through those times of huge social and political upheaval, nowadays it all seems so much like soup...

the truth is not the secret of the few: lawrence ferlinghetti

anyway, read more!
buy this book.

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