Friday, September 5, 2014

Big Sur by Jack Kerouac

"Big Sur" published in 1962, is Jack Kerouac's account of his time spent at Lawrence Ferlinghetti's rustic cabin at Big Sur. This volume incorporates all of Jack's sing-song stream of consciousness poetic prosy observations on his own mind, consciousness and state of being, as well as those around him and his immediate surroundings.

If you have never read Kerouac, this volume is not one to begin with. "Big Sur" is his own diary of sorts during a period of his life where he experienced extreme delirium tremens and thought he was losing his mind. 

In this volume, between the mad spinning of every adventure he experienced, there are moments of indescribable beauty in his writing about nature, spirituality, and existence. 

As a poet and a novelist, Jack encompasses the true definition of a writer and poet: to be an observer. He accomplishes this dramatically, and often quite frightening, as he recounts what it feels like to go mad and hold it together, simultaneous.

If you want to begin to read Kerouac, I suggest starting with "On the Road, then "Dharma Bums" to understand one, his style of writing, and two, the characters he mentions throughout in each of his novels [who are indeed our most famous literary figures.]

There is a documentary titled "Big Sur" [2013] that I recommend for it holds true to Jack's work and can be found at Sundance:


I am in awe of Jack's ability to accurately report and as a writer; "Big Sur" is a deep steep climb upward to one's own soul, then a horrifying downward spiral into one’s mind. Jack told the truth. He was not one to write of denial and in that, we are left with a volume that accurately describes one soul see-sawing from sanity to insanity, wide awake.

Kerouac is my absolute most respected writer for he was gifted with the ability to document everything he saw and deliver several stories within one story, his own. 

The beauty of Kerouac and "Big Sur" is simple. How many human beings can experience true hallucinatory states while going insane and come back to accurately write about it? 

Most people just go eternally crazy. 

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