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Writing Down The Beat: An Introduction to Jack Kerouac

Writing Down The Beat: An Introduction to Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac Writer In Residence Program

February 25, 2012

Part of ArtsFest

Kerouac House, Orlando FL</strong>

I’ve seen the greatest minds of my generation consumed by Angry Birds. I’ve seen the inside of the Kerouac house – a bungalow from another generation, filled with replicas of the past and writers of the future. I’ve seen my youth mocked, by itself, by the internet, and it was funny. Yes, I’m back at ArtsFest. This time it’s the Beat Writer’s Workshop, a splendiferous mash up of history and literature and the wanabees and gonnabees of the next generation. The house is small, the audience friendly. A woman named Jenna with a hobbitish accent guides us through the session: a stream of consciousness video with a local newscaster, a short history of the house, then a vintage Coronet film made during Kerouac’s most active years encouraging us to “plan ahead.” As a writer, if you don’t plan you do so your own risk. You write 800 page self-published trilogies and ask your friends read them and not point out the dialog is trite, the story hackneyed, and the premise done to death.

“Wannabee and Gonnabee writers.”

Coffee. They have coffee, it’s the fuel of spurious thoughts and the lubricant of business and it is HOT. Hot and bitter liked a spurned lover, hot like a hippy at a Gingrich rally, hot like a black vinyl car seat and cut off jeans. There is a Writer in Residence. She resides here, writing and residing. I don’t know what she writes, did write, will write, can write, could write, but she reads well. She reads a passage from “On The Road.” I read half of it years ago and ran out of steam. I feel guilty – sitting here, drinking Kerouac’s coffee, using Kerouac’s electricity, Kerouac’s guest bathroom, his oxygen, his bandwidth, his good will. I should read it to assuage my guilt. I have a hard copy and bootleg kindle version so I have no excuse. I would rather play Angry Birds.

“Would Jack Kerouac own this lamp?”

Being a workshop, we are now put to work. Told to write, asked to show our work, encouraged to revel in other’s work. We are all seriously writing, spread out on benches and chairs writing the next Great American Paragraph. Some write in the place Kerouac survived a fever, some write in his bathroom, his bedroom, his mother’s arm chair. We are all typing, scribbling, creating. I think, I pray, supplicating the gods of writing, gods with a small “g”:Mr. Royal, Mr. Underwood, Mr. Smith, Mr. Corona, and most recently Mr. Gates. I pray “Please god: don’t let this suck.”

Thank you. Tip your server. I’ll be here all week.

More events at the Kerouac House may be seen at>

Arts Fest events are listed at </em>

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