I was reading On the Road a couple of weeks ago. I remember a guy in school reading it when we were fifteen or sixteen. He was listening to Jeff Buckley’s Grace too. He knew what was cool.
I started reading On the Road about a year later (there was a lag in my cool) and I couldn’t take it. I gave it a fair old bash. Must have read two thirds of it.
So I went back to it a few weeks ago and this time I couldn’t – I don’t think I got past page eighteen. This supposed “wild yea-saying overburst of American joy.” Yeah, well. I think the whole book would be better if it was just a page long. That page should include the line where he says that the only people he was ever interested in were
the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be save, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous roman candles exploding like spiders across the (yadda yadda yadda)…
I really think a single page would do it. Maybe that would be a masterpiece. It would certainly be enough.
And because I was reading it around Bloomsday I got the idea that people could celebrate Kerouac with food. You know, the way Joyceans eat kidneys for breakfast. Well, on the On The Road day, people could eat apple tart. That’s the On the Road food. He says it: “I ate another apple pie and ice cream; that’s practically all I ate all the way across the country.”
So, 1. we reduce the book to a page, that way no one loses interest; and 2. we celebrate the page with apple tart. You on board?