January 24, 2021

On soft Spring nights I'll stand in the yard under the stars -- Something good will come out of all things yet And it will be golden and eternal just like that -- There's no need to say another word.

there are so many interesting covers of this one

By Jack Kerouac, narrated by Ethan Hawke

I started this blog with Jack Kerouac, read The Dharma Bums in 2013, and then left Kerouac alone for a while—at times seeking inspiration from his haikus with blues, but otherwise favoring other writers.

Then in October, the New York Times mentioned a new audio release of Big Sur, narrated by Ethan Hawke (!). With my love for him not having faded in the least—absolutely expanding, in fact—this felt like a good way to re-engage with Kerouac.

There's a raspy—sometimes weary + wistful, sometimes charged + energetic—characteristic to Ethan's voice that serves as the perfect conduit for Kerouac's spontaneous prose, and for this heartrending autobiographical novel in particular. Ethan's telling carried me through this reading. There are such moments, especially, where the slightest shift in his tone during a sentence, or a word even, made all the difference to the language and deepened its punch. 

“Ah, life is a gate, a way, a path to Paradise anyway, why not live for fun and joy and love or some sort of girl by a fireside, why not go to your desire and LAUGH . . . but I ran away from that seashore and never came back again without that secret knowledge: that it didn't want me there, that I was a fool to sit there in the first place, the sea has its waves, the man has his fireside, period.”
(Chapter 9)

"But in the morning (and I'm no Milarepa who could also sit naked in the snow and was seen flying on one occasion) here comes Ron Blake back with Pat McLear and Pat's wife the beautiful one, and by God their little sweet five year old girl who is such a pleasant sight to see as she goes jongling and jiggling through the fields to look for flowers, everything to her is perfectly new beautiful primordial Garden of Eden morning here in this tortured human canyon -- And a rather beautiful morning develops -- There's fog so we close the blinds and light the fire and the lamp, me and Pat, and sit there drinking from the jug he brought talking about literature and poetry while his wife listens and occasionally gets up to heat more coffee and tea or goes out to play with Ron and the little girl -- Pat and I are in a serious talkative mood and I feel that lonely shiver in my chest which always warns me: you actually love people and you're glad Pat is here."
(Chapter 23)

"But that's my relationship with Evelyn, we're real pals and we can kid about anything even the first night I met her in Denver in 1947 when we danced and Cody watched anxiously, a kind of romantic pair in fact and I shudder sometimes to think of all that stellar mystery of how she IS going to get me in a future lifetime, wow -- And I seriously do believe that will be my salvation, too. A long way to go."
(Chapter 24)

"...It's blue dusk all up and down the California world -- Frisco glitters up ahead -- Our radio plays rhythm and blues as we pass the joint back and forth in jutjawed silence both looking ahead with big private thoughts now so vast we cant communicate them any more and if we tried it would take a million years and a billion books -- Too late, too late, the history of everything we've seen together and separately has become a library in itselt -- me shelves pile higher -- They're full of misty documents or documents of the Mist -- The mind has convoluted in every tuckaway every-whichaway tuckered hole till there's no more the expressing of our latest thoughts let alone old -- Mighty genius of the mind Cody whom I announce as the greatest writer the world will ever know if he ever gets down to writing again like he did earlier -- It's so enormous we both sit here sighing in fact -- "No the only writing I done, " he says, "a few letters to Willamine, in fact quite a few, she's got em all wrapped in ribbons there, I figgered if I tried to write a book or sumptin or prose or sumptin they'd just take it away from me when I left so I wrote her "bout three letters a week for two years -- and the trouble of course and as I say and you've heard a million times is the mind flows the mind rises and nobody can by any possible c- oh hell, I dont wanta talk about it" -- Besides I can see from glancing at him that becoming a writer holds no interest for him because life is so holy for him there's no need to do anything but live it, writing's just an afterthought or a scratch anyway at the surface -- But if he could! if he would! there I am riding in California miles away from home where my poor cat's buried and my mother grieves and that's what I'm thinking. It always makes me proud to love the world somehow -- Hate's so easy compared -- But here I go flattering myself helling headbent to the silliest hate I ever had."
(Chapter 25)

"...Monsanto will say "That's all there is to it, take it easy, everything's okay, don't take things too serious, it's bad enough as it is without you going the deep end over imaginary conceptions just like you always said yourself -- I'll get my ticket and say goodbye on a flower day and leave all San Francisco behind and go back home across autumn America and it'll all be like it was in the beginning -- Simple golden eternity blessing all -- Nothing ever happened -- Not even this -- St Carolyn by the Sea will go on being golden one way or the other... The little boy will grow up and be a great man... There'll be farewells and smiles -- My mother'll be waiting for me glad -- The corner of the yard where Tyke is buried will be a new and fragrant shrine making my home more homelike somehow -- On soft Spring nights I'll stand in the yard under the stars -- Something good will come out of all things yet And it will be golden and eternal just like that -- There's no need to say another word." 
(Chapter 38) 

*Looks like someone posted the novel online & I hope it's OK to link it here! Keeps my transcriptions accurate, too.

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