I have always wanted to be a writer. I have been a big reader for as long as I can remember and have always said to myself “I can do that”. Unfortunately so far it has been a no go. Not for lack of trying. I have written plenty of short stories, even managed to get one published. I have written for the local newspaper, written poems (really bad ones) and songs (couple of them not so bad ones), but no book. For me the problem, as I see it, is stamina. When it comes to writing I am more a sprinter than a long distance runner, just can’t seem to hold it together long enough to write a whole novel. But don’t count me out yet, were there is a will there is a way and I think before it is all said and done I will crank out at least one book.
I bring this up today because not long ago I was at a garage sale and picked up ‘The Portable Beat Reader’. This is a book that touches on different authors from the “Beat Generation”, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and so on. I was first introduced to this bunch with a book called “On the Road” by Kerouac (did you know Kerouac was born into a French Canadian family? thought that was interesting). I have to admit, I couldn’t finish it. I tried a few times cause this was supposed to be the book, the Beat book, but I found it just got really long and repetitive. A little later on I tried to read “Naked Lunch” then “Junky” by Bourroughs and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. So I tried the poetry of Ginsberg which I found a bit more structured but still, it did not reach out to me and pull me it. The sad part is that I want to love this work! These guys are so troubled and this time in history was so oppressive. Here is this little gang of authors writing and not caring that they are opening doors that will change literature forever. Outlaw Authors that are telling the whole world “Go fuck yourself!” and doing exactly as they please. What is not to like, I ask?
Gravely I am not hip enough, I just don’t get it. But I cross my fingers and I continue to buy books like “The Portable Beat Reader” cause maybe one day I will. And when I do………..