I thought there was probably something more than loving a person, something more all consuming, a love of life and the World and travelling and absorbing all it has to offer. As I seemed to recall that is what On The Road was based on. So I decided to give it a re-read as I could do with being influenced to be more self-absorbed. Well, it turns out I was wrong because I discovered this bit that I must have missed before:
‘I spun around till I was dizzy; I thought I’d fall down as in a dream, clear off the precipice. Oh where is the girl I love? I though, and looked everywhere, as I had looked everywhere in the little world below.’
I am aghast.
‘All these years I was looking for the woman I wanted to marry.’
‘I want to marry a girl so I can rest my soul with her till we both get old. This can’t go on all the time – all this franticness and jumping around. We’ve got to go someplace, find something.’
I swear the first time I read it I thought Kerouac was more self-absorbed than this. Like Neal Cassady/Dean Moriarty and Al Hinkle/Ed Dunkle, who used Ed’s girlfriend for the money she had saved, to foot their petrol bill but when she wanted to stay in a motel, even though she paid, they’d rather have had her paying for more petrol for them. So when she used the last of her money on a motel for them again they just buggered off and left her, as she was no longer needed.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ” ~ Kerouac