Riff the Scroll

July 1, 2008

We were young and in trouble or always on the verge of it really, sometimes we were bored or just said we were but we talked and talked and talked and sometimes the words hung around our heads, circled our heads like mad halos and there’s a certain kind of madness in the young and desperation too. And we read On the Road and we read Notes from the Underground and we read Huxley and Dylan Thomas and Ernest Hemingway–never too earnest. And when we found the time to rent weird movies, they were on VHS tapes back then, we rented Kafka and Easy Rider and we were sensible enough to stay away from Burroughs in film or in print, for a little while anyway, but then we read him too, and boy were we sorry, but in a good way. And Jack Kerouac typed On the Road twice because he lost it somewhere along the way or somebody–maybe Ginsberg–lost it for him, I don’t remember–a feat so amazing it’s true in legend if nowhere else or maybe nowhere at all because I could have made it up. And the scroll went from hand to mad hand from mad hand to glad hand from man hands to other hands to the hands of Jim Irsay, who sent the scroll packing to Florida and San Francisco (home of The Beats) and to New York where Lorca rode around on the backs of alligators and now the Indianapolis Museum of Art is showing it off for a bit.




  1. Great post. But I’m still sorry that I watched Naked Lunch and still sorrier than I read the book–and not in a good way.

  2. I don’t think you ever read Dostoevsky either. You’re really a literature aristocrat, you know. You and Tolstoy and Forster and Wharton just lookin’ down your noses at the Celines and Kafkas and Burroughses of the world.

    And just as a side note, I don’t think any of the “possibly related posts” (and there are three) are even close to being related. Dear blogads persona at wordpress, the post is about the book On the Road by Jack Kerouac–certainly some blogger somewhere has mentioned it once.

  3. I have to agree with Eee…I too am very sorry I read and watched Naked Lunch. Even now, just thinking about it I feel sort of dirty and depressed.

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