“The road must eventually lead to the whole world.”– Jack Kerouac
A week ago today would’ve been Jack Kerouac’s, father of the Beat generation, 100th birthday and I’m surprised I haven’t addressed it yet.
When I was 14 (as cliché as this is going to sound), I read a series of books that either opened up doors for me or that I just liked. And again (as cliché as it sounds), On the Road was one of them. Of course, it was a book that changed the playing field, but for me, it was the introduction to a bigger world. Some of Kerouac’s other books such as Desolation Angels and Tristessa, blew me away just as much, if not more, than On the Road.
However, many of your cultural icons, such as Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison, credit On the Road as being a major influence on them and their work. I credit that book as being a door-opener to a wave of other writers, musicians, etc. More than that, I have to credit the man himself, not only because of the way he wrote but because of the way he lived.
No one ever again will ever truly have those types of experiences, life on the road, getting by just by getting by. No one again will ever have a lifestyle of that type. And not just because of the obvious reasons.
If you don’t know what happened to Kerouac, he ultimately drank himself to death. Another tragic, typical story of an artist who crashed or burned out. There’s no way he would’ve made it to 100. And not just for the obvious reasons.
There’s no way you would’ve made it to 100, Jack. That’s no matter. Happy birthday. Your mark on the world will be felt for eternity,