Well, someone remembered Jack Kerouac’s birthday.
I didn’t, but it was nice to read about how he had influenced someone else.
One of the interesting things about Kerouac is that the attractions of his writing are not all that obvious. He writes about quite ordinary things: driving or hitchhiking from place to place, meeting people, conversations, hiking, reading, going to parties. All these things seem to be quite ordinary, banal even. Why write a book about them?
What makes Kerouac’s books different is that he sees different things in the ordinary things of life, and so helps others to see their own lives differently. It is as if, as Allen Ginsberg said, one drives 72 hours across country to see if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision to find out eternity.
I was introducted to Kerouac’s books by Brother Roger, an Anglican monk of the Community of the Resurrection, and he had, in himself, that kind of character. He could talk about ordinary things and make them seem extraordinary. I think that if anyone else had introduced me to Kerouac’s books, I would not have enjoyed them so much. Towards the end of his life Jack Kerouac seemed to become more lost and alcoholic and disillusioned. But for Brother Roger it remained fresh and exciting. “Everything that happens is adorable”, as he quoted a character in another novel as saying, in his paper Pilgrims of the absolute, in which he first introduced me to Kerouac and other such characters.