A Tribute to Kerouac's "On The Road" 50th Anniversary!
As a tribute to the 50th anniversary of ON THE ROAD, we of the ULA and OYB and FIFTHWAY are setting our eBook prices at $3.95, the price of the first OTR edition to hit the racks (probably the hardcover edition).
Are you young and hip and have a computer, laptop, or iPod? You read a lot on them, don't you! Probably even books now. Well, if you want to see what today's best, most inspirational and adventurous writing looks like, here's your chance! Check out the ebooks on this website!
I've seen a lot in the news lately about the huge scroll that Jack Kerouac typed "On the Road" on. It's touring around, I think. It might be the most famous American novel manuscript. He wrote the book nonstop in a few weeks on this scroll, which he then tried to use to get a NYC book deal. They laughed him out...but said to come back with it on sheets of paper. And the rest is history. A very complex history, actually (his editors had him hurt the story a lot to get it into print). But as regards the cultural impact of OTR, not so tricky: it was huge. It influenced generations of youth and writers alike. It worked even though its publisher put all the wrong messages on the cover and edited it to dilute the message inside.
When I first read "On the Road" I *was* on the road. It was in the mid-80's. Hitch-hiking was dead. No one did it anymore. It was the scary punk era, and who knows what all. Oooh! I hitch-hiked anyway and had a great time on dozens of jaunts---short, med, long. Signs helped. I hear people say today, Well, NO ONE would hitch-hike anymore. It's TOO DANGEROUS. How do they know? Data? Actually, it's making another comeback. Due to need, sure, but mostly due to cellphones. They make it safer for both driver and rider. And also due to our generally more safety/security conscious world.
There's a new unedited version of OTR available. (http://www.amazon.com/Road-Original-Scroll-Jack-Kerouac/dp/067006355X/jeffpottersoutyoA) I hear it's good, better. The editors and critics back then thought that Kerouac was rough and simple. Actually, he was a finished artist and we now see that he knew far more than they did. They should've left his scroll alone.
[UPDATE 9/08: I'm reading "The Original Scroll" right now; it came out last year. It really does read better. Like a zeen! But at the same time, it's messy and has more sex and "names names" which is a sort of truth that Western Civ has no interest in, what with libel now and duels previously. It's been reading OTR again. I'm reading both the famous edition---for MIEM, the 5th Way life-philosophy group I'm part of (see fifthway.com, a site of mine)---and the original scroll for myself. It's amazing how it brings back memories of being on the road even back in the 80's. The West was still wild enough. I remember meeting guys who were looking for transient work. "Where are they hiring?" I remember truckers giving me a lift then CB'ing and passing me on to another truck when they were turning off. Sometimes my rides went so smoothly and fast that I wished I would be left off for at least awhile out in the middle of some wide open nowhere. I've also checked out the YouTube vid's of Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady at City Lights Bookstore. Post-fame Neal talked and looked pretty strung out. Oh well! Jack doesn't look any better on some of his vid's---especially the drunk Italian one. But you can tell they both were rockin'n'rollin back when.]
So who's carrying the torch these days for the spirit of Keraouc?
Yeah! The ULA! And OYB! And the Fifth Way!
Actually, we combine Kerouac AND CASSIDY.
Jack's best pal Neal Cassidy---Dean in OTR---was the performer, the joker. The ULA in particular performs and pulls stunts. But we also produce serious, real, cutting edge, accessible art. Like Jack we've been kicked out of the editor's office. But unlike Jack today we face marketing and legal departments like he couldn't imagine.
Actually, he could. That's what killed him. He took his share of hits from idiots in publishing. He called them the "10,000 sneering writing instructors" who work to kill every American writer.
We carry the torch! We don't forget!
It may be passe', but we do it anyway. It's the real deal and so are we.
How lame can you be, to say you're a Bukowski poet---but we say that, too! Who would publish a new Buk? No one but us! Buk made his publisher millions---is any NYC publisher trying to find the next Buk? Heck, no! He wasn't even trouble for them. He was a gold mine. What he did was make their other work look bad. I guess. It's weird. But Buk inspired thousands of wannabes. Who of them have stood the test? The writers of the ULA! (And OYBers and the Fifth Way are in on the action, too!)