September 5th, 2007

  • lizhand

The Road Goes Ever On and On

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac's ON THE ROAD. Same age as me and (and a few of you out there). I remember reading it for the first time when I was 15 or 16 -- I think it was Watergate Summer. Don't know as I've read it since, and I've never been able to egt through anything else by Kerouac, but ON THE ROAD made a huge impression on me. The idea of mythologizing your own life, of having a cohort of friends who were artists or writers or ne'er-do-wells, of being footloose and on the run — what wasn't there to like? Even then I wasn't impressed by thw way women were dealt with in the book (insofar as they were: summarily), but the whole speed-fueled trip was immensely appealing, as was the vision of America as unassigned territory. I'd spent enogh time in Texas to recognize the Big Country, but I grew up far enough away from it that it still seemed legendary to me.

When I actually sat down to read the Beats, though, I wasn't impressed. I liked their vague ethos, and I liked reading about them, far more than I liked their books or poetry, which always seemed kind of dopey. Paul Bowles was only tangentially connected to them, but he was the only writer out of that scene I ever got into.

Still, the myth lives on. For her graduation/18th birthday present next year, my daughter Callie wants to go on a cross-country road trip with me. I've wanted to do that in a camper truck since I was ten and read Steinbeck's TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE. So I'm looking to buy a camper/pickup, and sometime next summer hope to embark upon Travels with Callie. The road goes on forever ....
paul shirt
  • pgdf

New SF news site

My reading with Norman Spinrad in NYC last nite came off well, and I was grateful to see a good turnout, despite the reading's proximity to the exhausting eating, drinking and travelling rigors of Labor Day.

In attendence was Ian Strock, and he clued me in to his new website, SFScope, a repository of breaking news and views for the field.

Why not check it out?

Posted by Paul DiFi.

Beach replenishment

While I am replenishing myself here at Middlesex Beach (and finishing a ghostwriting project), Middlesex Beach itself is undergoing replenishment!  Since I'll be here all month, and I hope to return a lot in October as well, I thought it would be fun to keep a photographic record of the work, tracking the changes that occur to the beach as a result of humans and, this being hurrican season still, perhaps nature too.  Work has just begun -- no doubt there will be some interesting images to come, based on past replenishments.

Whether there should even be replenishments is, of course, another question, especially as sea levels begin to rise from global warming.

This behemoth went rumbling by this morning as I sat reading Ian McDonald's impressive novel, Brasyl.

posted by paulw