1.3
April 29, 2010

A map from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road journal.

“And as I sat there listening to that sound of the night which bop has come to represent for all of us, I thought of my friends from one end of the country to the other and how they were really all in the same vast backyard doing something so frantic and rushing-about.”

I just ran across this remarkable image, a page from Jack Kerouac’s journal in which he’d taken some of the extensive notes he used to write up On the Road. Thought I’d share it here.

Jack Kerouc, as most readers know, wrote On the Road in three weeks…famously tapping it out all on one roll of taped-together teletype paper so he didn’t have to stop to change sheets of paper. On the Road, then, however, went through six years of not getting published, of his publisher asking for revision after revision while Kerouac shambled about broke, unknown, exploring, yearning, writing.

Then, he became famous. He didn’t like being famous. As soon as he could, it seemed, he turned from handsome young man into angry, lonelier than ever old man…and died an alcoholic.

“…and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old…”

Finally, a year or so ago, the original first draft of On the Road, the one he typed up in that furious mad literary dash, was published.

The map highlights:

New York City
Chicago
Davenport
Des Moines
North Platte
Cheyenne
(Denver
Central City)
Laramie
Salt Lake
Reno
San Francisco
Madera
Fresno
Selma
Los Angeles
Prescott
Albuquerque
Dalhart
Kansas City
St Louis
Indianapolis
Columbus
Pittsburgh
Washington DC
New York City

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