Saturday, October 06, 2007

On the Road Scroll in Lowell

Jake and I got up there to Lowel on my brief summer vacation end of August. Not quite stuff of epiphany, but Lowell always has a vibe, as a Lowelite would know. Jake liked the general tenor of the presentation which showed the city, road pics, the music, and the publishing artifacts of his life. The manuscript itself under Plexiglas as if at a jewelers - a bit weird, but what a throwback. Anyone who worked with cheap news print or teletype rolls would find memory. Hey look a typewriter, I say to Jake, and punch on the Underwood on display. Just a different meter to composition on a mechanical thing like that. A more physical experience. A more physical age.

Just the basics: The manuscript has no paragraph breaks. It is single-spaced. It has no page breaks. Kerouac was a helleva typist. One sees few mistakes. It is explained that it is not on teletype roll but is tracing paper somehow pasted on one long teletype roll. I guess tracing paper was something you could erase. The names are the real names of the people. Neal Cassidy is Neal Cassidy, not Dean Moriarity. Jack was puffin on Proust:That is my main takeaway. Not that it isn’t something one knew. But to see it is different.

We got out to the grave the same day and, of course got lost, then found the quiet place for some lonesome travelers from Scandanavia, Gobi, and Scarsdale had preceded us, and left there guff [I left a half-shell found by Cecelia, an image of Dagwood in Lotus position found in old Boston Herald, beads and a few drops of Saki]. That place always brings sadness and inspiration it seems. Wanted to eat at a diner, but the one I had in mind was closed. Would have like a beer at the Worthen, but back to Boston was still a long haul. Got out to Kerouac Park. True Kerouack words in stone. Remembered: It first place for formal getting out for young Jake -3 months old and the park was being opened in 1988.Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, and Father Spike among others were there. Jacob shook hands with late Senator Paul Tsongas, whose wife is running for congress now.

The 20th Annual Lowell Remembers Kerouac event is this week. Got up there a few good times over the years.

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