Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jack Kerouac is not my favorite writer...


The 2ND Annual Lone Star International Film Festival was last weekend. As a member of the Film Society and an aspiring screenwriter, I love this festival as it is in my hometown of Fort Worth! I volunteered for the festival last year (see picture of me with Martin Sheen on this page!) and I did so again this year.
I was only able to see one film, One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur. I was a bit hesitant to see this film because, as the title of this post states, Jack Kerouac is not my favorite writer. He's not even on my top 100. I tried reading Kerouac in college, but only got to page 5 of On the Road, before I just had to stop and work on my Women's literature readings. I actually thought that I just didn't like Kerouac at all until I realized that it wasn't his writings which irritated me so much, it was his devotees. The Kerouac wannabes.
Ah, the Kerouac wannabes. They are an interesting group of guys (usually guys, because really, a girl could not pull it off. Most guys can't.). You can tell a Kerouac devotee from a mile away. They usually wear outsider clothes reminiscent of the 1950s (khaki Dickie's type pants, short sleeve button-ups in mute tones, undershirts, usually wife-beaters, all of which is possibly frayed at the ends). Also, their hair has that look about it that makes one think of the 50s without the oil slick you'd normally see. If they smoke, they will, of course, roll their own cigarettes. Then there is the attempt at intellectualism. Very few pull this off, but they try. Its the whole attitude that they know they are smart, but they don't care, they just want to write. Maybe poetry, maybe the next great novel.
It's kind of a strange thing to see, but I've witnessed it in person- in college and quite a bit in Austin. They just bug me. I don't really know why, except maybe it just bothers me that people try to cop an image of who they want to be like instead of just being who they are. It seems as if they want someone else's life. I don't think Kerouac's life is the one to want, especially since he really did have major mental and alcoholic issues, dying at the age of 47 because his body just could not take the abuse anymore.
Anyway, the movie was an eye-opener for me and made me admire Kerouac even more. I took my mom and she really enjoyed it. This is a woman who really does not like documentaries much, especially the literary ones, but she related to him so much. The idea that, when he dried out completely, he could not create, so he had to remain mostly drunk all of the time to do his business. I could only imagine what that must have been like. I know that my mom has a difficult time being creative when she takes her meds, but she has a hard time functioning as a normal person when she doesn't, so she takes them. The whole thing has inspired me to give Kerouac another try. I've ordered a copy of the Anniversary edition of On the Road. It is the scroll edition, meaning everything Kerouac wrote is in it, not just the edited version. I hope I get past page 5 this time... if I do, I may try others, including Big Sur...

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