Hey Jack, you’re killing the (wannabe) hipster in me

Because I am so cool (I exhale snowflakes), I attempted to finish Jack Kerouac’s “The Visions of Cody” during the Christmas break. Yes, this girl reads Kerouac, Salinger, Rice and the occasional Rowling in her spare time. (None of the S&M shit that girls my age tout as a “must read”).

(I mean, if I want porn I’ll watch it. Not read about it.)

Visions of Cody... I am still stuck on page 42!
Visions of Cody… I am still stuck on page 93!

“attempted” being the operative word because it’s already the New Year and I am still on page 93.

I know for sure that I wasn’t fazed by the continuous writing, in 10-size font. After all, I finished “On the Road” twice but I can’t seem to pinpoint what exactly is ruining my Kerouac mojo. I also have “Desolation Angels” on my bookshelf and I did get to finish it. It’s freaking Cody and the beat jazz singers and the half naked girls that seems to be bringing me to a standstill.

I brought the book out after being faced with the prospect of spending Christmas eve with the darling in-laws. Due to me not having someone to talk to in detail and in length, figured it’s an opportunity to finally finish the book that’s been gathering in the shelf in the last two years (it was a birthday gift from the hubby). So, in between spoonfuls of baked macaroni and strings of cheddar cheese, I tried to follow Dulouz as he describes the mundane in rapid, continuous beat that seems to take shape in my head. I don’t know if its the stillness of the holidays, but I have come to adapt an imaginary rhyme on how I read the words from the book…

“oh ragged sailing heart–it was far from time for Cody to be able to even want to explain his craziest secrets. Actually and no lie, Tom, I was thinking to myself what a wonderful guy this Tom Watson is really truly indeed.”

In my head, it was melodious.

Believe me there are days when I want to give up and go back to JD Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” (a favorite read every December when all the phonies are out in all their majestic glory, and thus an apt read for the season) but to forsake the novel is to say that I have given up. And that I don’t get. (Which I hate more).

A quick look on Google says it’s worth the weird beats in your head. In fact, in a review for New York Times, Aaron Latham writes, “The book may, at first, seem like a raft that has broken up–no order, no plan, everything afloat in the stream of Jack Kerouac’s consciousness. But if you can stand some disorder, you will find some of Kerouac’s very best writing in this book. It is funny, it is serious. It is eloquent. To read “On the Road” but not “Visions of Cody” is to take a nice sightseeing tour but to forgo the spectacular rapids of Jack Kerouac’s wildest writing.”

Latham says that the best strategy to read (and hopefully finish it) “…would be to read the book in bits and pieces as if it were a book of poetry rather than a continuous narrative because it simply is not a continuous narrative.”

Fine strategy which I will employ as soon as I finish this post. Not finishing this book is just so…uncool.

2 Replies to “Hey Jack, you’re killing the (wannabe) hipster in me”

  1. Natawa ako dun sa “S & M shit that girls my age tout as a must read”. Hahaha! I think I know which series you’re referring to! We’re almost of the same age…and I tell you, I’m not reading that either!

    I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but when I read “On the Road” I didn’t enjoy it. Looking back, I probably read it at the wrong time in my life. I guess I was always envious of Sal & Dean going wherever they wanted to go & not giving shit. At that time I was stuck at a job that I wasn’t happy with and wanted to leave but couldn’t. Perhaps I’ll give it another go sometime.

    1. Yeah, you did mention that you didn’t actually enjoyed “On the Road” when you first read it. I couldn’t blame you — the book really has its unique, weird feel. Though I wouldn’t stop you from reading it again. Who knows you might find it enjoyable now. 🙂

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