Me And My Leaving Trunk
January 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
I’m finishing up Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”. Kerouac’s true stories about his cross country trips during the 1940’s offer a one of a kind glimpse into the beatnik culture. But more than that, this book has a lot of parallels to my own life and seems to speak to me as more than just a cultural artifact of mid twentieth century life in America. As a 20 something wrestling with a lot of my own issues I can find a lot of common ground with Keruoac’s story.
I just came across a specific excerpt this morning that particularly stuck out to me. Jack Kerouac’s character, Sal, is having a conversation with his close friend and traveling companion, Dean Moriarty (whose character was based on the Beat generation writer Neal Cassady). They had recently made it to Sal’s hometown in New York after road tripping from San Francisco. They had both grown tired of NY and were ready to move on. I’ll leave you with the excerpt, which speaks to me as much as any chunk of text I’ve ever come across:
I’ll tell you. Sal, straight, no matter where I live, my trunk’s always sticking out from under the bed, I’m ready to leave or get thrown out. I’ve decided to leave everything out of my hands. You’ve seen me try and break my ass to make it and you know that it doesn’t matter and we know time — how to slow it up and walk and dig and jus old-fashioned spade kicks, what other kicks are there? We know.” We sighed in the rain. It was falling all up and down the Hudson Valley that night. The great world piers of the sea-wide river were drenched in it, old steamboat landings at Poughkeepsie were drenched in it, old Split Rock Pond of sources was drenched in it, Vanderwhacker Mount was drenched in it. “So,” said Dean, “I’m cutting along in my life as it leads me.