(From the dept of Never Too Late to Notice)
I'd forgotten about this, or maybe I never realized it -- there's something I have in common with Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road: The book, the most durable piece of writing produced by the group of writers associated with the Beat movement, was published on Sept. 5, the same day/date (but not year) that I was born.
On the Road, which still sells at the rate of about 100,000 copies a year, celebrated its 50th anniversary on the day that I turned, well, 30/16. Viking just published a new edition of the rambling, ecstatic road novel, along with On the Road: The Original Scroll (Kerouac's original, unedited version of the book) and John Leland's book-length essay Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of 'On the Road' (They're Not What You Think).
(Of course, Why Kerouac Matters isn't to be confused with Pete Hamill's Why Sinatra Matters or Tom Piazza's Why New Orleans Matters)
The most intriguing bit of news regarding Kerouac's novel is the forthcoming movie adaptation from Walter Salles, director of the young-Che-on-the-road flick The Motorcyle Diaries. The latter film's screenwriter Jose Rivera is writing the screenplay for On the Road, slated for release in 2009, according to the Internet Movie Database.
Yes, there is a Tampa Bay area connection to all of this: Kerouac died in St. Petersburg on Oct. 21, 1969. In a recent St. Petersburg Times story by Colette Bancroft, retired USF English professor Larry Broer and actor and retired English professor Kelly Reynolds recounted their encounters with Kerouac. In the same day's paper Bancroft reviews Leland's book.
Leland, by the way, is coming to the St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading, Oct. 27 at USF-St. Petersburg. He will join a Jack Kerouac panel also featuring Kerouac associate David Amram (Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat), Christopher Felver (Beat) and Joyce Johnson (Minor Characters).
For more on the Festival of Reading, click here.
Wanna read, see or hear more about On the Road? Click on the below links.
"On the Road at 50" (NY Times)
"People Still Taking to the 'Road' With Kerouac" (CNN)
"Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road': Present at the Creation" (NPR)
The Beat Museum
The Beat Page