Notes from What Happened to Kerouac?

About once a year I read my dog-eared copy of _On the Road_, and for a few days dream of road trips, ’50s cars, poetry readings and camping. The lifestyle expressed in Kerouac’s books is so unique yet so consistent, so I was interested in the life of the author, since I didn’t really know “what happened” to Kerouac.

Turns out the man responsible for these documents of hope and exploration was deeply troubled by many things, and his refuge in alcohol finally overcame him. The film [What Happened to Kerouac]( enlists many of Jack’s friends to tell his story, and it turns out dark and depressing. Some moments of hope, but certainly not the story of creativity I expected.

### Notes

Kerouac couldn’t speak English until he was 6.

He apparently said that since he was Catholic and not allowed to commit suicide, he would drink himself to death…which he did.

Kerouac came up with the title “Naked Lunch” for Burroughs.

“How would you define the word ‘Beat'” “Sympathetic.” – 15:00, asked by Steve Allen

“He said, ‘I am a spy in somebody else’s body'” – Burroughs

Carolyn Cassady guessed that Jack envied Neal’s self-assurance and macho nature; Neal envied Jack’s education and middle-class security.

Kerouac had very little in his room at home, living “like a monk”, but he did have a big crucifix above the typewriter, apparently having great devotion to it. (Father Spike Morrisette)

Kerouac would get himself in good shape before a crazy writing spree–sleeping a lot, exercising, eating well–then completely devoting himself to the work, without sleeping or eating much.

“He had little brown-paper manila-covered notebooks, in which he would write in pencil a lot…his theory was that you should have a notebook and pencil at all times.” – Gary Snyder, 58:00

Best parts are the times Kerouac reads his own work. Really a great performer.