Weekly ZiNgers! Immortal wanderer

March 15, 2019

 

 

"Everything hurt the guy. Just a drizzly November day would zing him. I guess if you read his books, I guess somewhere you'd find the answer."

 

Kad o životu jedne kultne ličnosti kao što je to bio Jack Kerouac saznajemo iz izvora kao što su Allen Ginsberg i William Burroughs, očekivano je da će biti i više nego dovoljno anegdota i detalja koji će pridodati proširenju piščeve osobne legende. Upravo nam to pruža djelo koje ćemo koristiti u ovotjednom ZiNgeru posvećenom Jacku Kerouacu. Jack's book : an oral biography of Jack Kerouac, autora Barryja Gifforda i Lawrencea Leea zanimljivo je štivo koje nam daje uvid u fascinantan život slavnog pisca, ali i cijele jedne generacije.

 

Jack Kerouac (12. ožujka 1922. -  21. listopada 1969.) bio je američki romanopisac i pjesnik. Njegova djela imala su širok kulturalan utjecaj (književnost, glazba, filozofija i stil života...) a zbog romana Na cesti smatran je ikonom beat generacije. No sam pisac nije bio sretan s ulogom koja mu je dodijeljena te je do kraja života odbacivao titulu "Kralja bitnika".

 

Rođen je u Lowellu, gradu koji je za vrijeme industrijske revolucije bio u pravom procvatu. Čak ga je posjetio i Charles Dickens koji je bio poznat po svom oštrom kritiziranju tvorničkog rada. Slavni engleski pisac bio je impresioniran radnim uvjetima ondašnjih zaposlenika. No dok je Jack došao na svijet situacija se znatno promijenila, tvornice su se počele zatvarati a grad je zahvatila ekonomska kriza, kao i ostatak Amerike sljedećih deset godina. Jackovi roditelji, Leo - Alcide Kerouac i Gabrielle - Ange Lévesque, upoznali su se i vjenčali u New Hampshireu i dobili troje djece, a Jack je bio najmlađe dijete. Kad je imao četiri godine njegov stariji brat Gerard preminuo je od reumatske groznice, a taj nesretni događaj ostavio je dubok utisak na pisca te je o njemu godinama kasnije pisao u knjizi Visions of Gerard

 

Odgojen je u strogo katoličkom okruženju, a unatoč činjenici da je kasnije u životu postao budist, nikad nije u potpunosti napustio svoja katolička uvjerenja, što je bila savršena slika njegove kontradiktorne osobnosti. No pisac je imao duboko intuitivno razumijevanje obaju vjerskih sustava te je na neki način uzeo najbolje od oba svijeta i stvorio vlastitu životnu filozofiju. Dharma Bums bilo je samo još jedno djelo koje je stvorilo još više miskoncepcija o piscu. Jackov prijatelj, pjesnik i budist Philip Whalen, koji se u djelu pojavljuje kao lik Warren Coughlin, izjavio je:

 

"He would go just so far with it, and then he'd say, "Ah, well. Its wonderful, but I really believe in sweet baby Jesus", or "little lamby Jesus"..."

 

Kao i godinama kasnije, tako je i u djetinjstvu Jack volio svoje vrijeme provoditi u uskom krugu bliskih prijatelja, a jedan od njih, prijatelj iz djetinjstva, Roland Salvas, izjavio je sljedeće za pisca i njegovu nemirnu narav: 

 

"I always thought Jack was going to get up there somehow. I mean, being a writer - wanting to be a writer - you don't become a writer in your own town. You have to go out and give what you can and learn what you can. But you don't do that around your own town or city. You get the education step by step. That's what he did."

 

Oduvijek ga je privlačio New York, sanjao je o životu u velegradu i beskonačnim mogućnostima koje on pruža svojim stanovnicima. Dobio je stipendiju za Sveučilište Columbia zahvaljujući činjenici da je bio dobar sportaš i to mu je omogućilo da ostvari svoje snove i ode na studij u New York. No nakon ozljede noge i svađe s trenerom napustio je sveučilište, zaposlio se, iznajmio sobu, kupio pisaću mašinu i počeo pisati.

 

Dok je još studirao upoznao je svoju prvu suprugu Edie Parker i počeli su živjeti zajedno u blizini sveučilišta. U to vrijeme također je upoznao ljude koji su postali ključne figure beat pokreta i njegovi bliski prijatelji - Allena Ginsberga i Williama Burroughsa. Pjesnik Allen Ginsberg u knjizi se prisjetio prvog utiska o piscu nakon njihova upoznavanja:

 

"I remember being awed by him and amazed by him, because I'd never met a big jock who was sensitive an inteligent about poetry..."

 

Ginsberg se također prisjetio zanimljive anegdote koja je označila početak njihova dugogodišnjeg prijateljstva. Jack je pomagao pjesniku da se preseli iz doma te se Ginsberg na odlasku krenuo opraštati s vratima i stepenicama, a Jack mu je rekao da i on radi istu stvar kad napušta neko mjesto. Bilo je to sentimentalno otkriće koje je zbližilo dvojicu muškaraca:

 

"...He was aware when he was saying good-bye to a place or when he was passing trough the world, that it was a melancholy mortal tearful moment, constantly. Saying good-bye was like arriving or something. I don't know. It was a little poem idea that we had. The conversation was a discovery that we both felt the same sensitive, personal self-farewell toward the world, and occasion was moving out this college dormitory where I 'd fallen in love. So I think that from that conversation we became friends..."

 

Pjesnik i autor kontroverzne i slavljene poeme Howl otkrio je da je Burroughs bio odgovoran za njihov svojevrsni književni preporod: 

 

"So Jack and I made a formal visit to Bill, and I remember that he had copies of Yeats' A Vision, which Lucien had been carrying around. Shakespeare, Kafka: The Castle or The Trial, The Castle I think; Korzybki's Science and Sanity, Spengler's Decline of the West, Blake, a copy of Hart Crane, which he gave me and I still have, Rimbaud, Cocteau's  Opium. So these were the books that he was reading, and I hadn't read any of those. And he loaned books to us.."

 

Pisac William Burroughs, autor legendarnih romana Naked Lunch i Junky, prisjetio se Jackova utjecaja na njegovo stvaralaštvo:

 

"Jack had suggested that I write and I wasn't too interested for a long time. I would say he was much more instrumental in later writing. Naked Lunch was his title that he suggested. But that was later. That was after I had written Junky. Then I was more interested in writing, of course, having written a book that was published."

 

Jack i Burroughs kasnije su čak i napisali knjigu zajedno, And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, o ubojstvu Davida Kammerera, koje je počinio njihov zajednički prijatelj Lucien Carr, još jedan član beat pokreta. Carr je tvrdio da je ubio Kammerera u samoobrani, a Jack je čak bio uhićen kao sudionik je se Carr, nakon što je prvo potražio pomoć od Burroughsa, koji ga je savjetovao da sve prizna i preda se, obratio Jacku. Jack ga je promatrao kako baca nož s kojim je počinio ubojstvo u kanalizaciju i zakopava Kammererove naočale. Zanimljiv je detalj da Jackov otac nije htio platiti jamčevinu pa je Jack pristao vjenčati se s Edie, ako njeni roditelji plate jamčevinu. 

 

Uskoro je Jackov otac Leo, koji je bolovao od raka, preminuo, njegov brak s Edie se raspadao i tada je Jack počeo raditi na svom prvom romanu, a očev sprovod, na kojem se okupila cijela uža i šira obitelj, poslužio mu je kao predložak za kulminacijsku scenu romana. 1950. godine izašao je roman The Town and the City, i kritika ga je dobro prihvatila, a piščevi prijatelji, poput Ginsberga, bili su začuđeni i zadivljeni Jackovim spisateljskim mogućnostima:

 

"I knew Jack was a poet - genius, but I didn't realize that he had that enormous volume of patience and sit - down ability to create like a big, huge, huge, huge, long novel... I didn't realize he was that fluent and vulnerable...I was astound when I read the whole thing, cause it seemed like a reproduction of life as it was. It was like a great romance and family story reaching back into the past and coming up to postwar present. Like a great novelist but more - with poetry in it. So I thought some great accomplishment had taken place, some great fusion of poetry and novel in America."

 

Jack je uistinu imao izvanredno strpljenje i pamćenje koje mu je pomoglo da opiše događaje koji su se odigrali godinama unazad do zadnjeg detalja, a njegov specifičan stil pisanja postao je ono što jeste kad je upoznao Neala Cassadyja, koji je u knjizi Na cesti utjelovljen u liku Deana Moriartyja. Nealova pisma poslužila su Jacku kao svojevrstan katalizator da pronađe i razvije svoj vlastiti stil pisanja koji je kasnije prozvao "spontanom prozom":

 

 "The discovery of a style of my own based on spontaneous get - with-it came after reading marvelous free - narative letters of Neal Cassady, a great writer who happens also to be the Dean Moriarty of On the Road."

 

Jack je u slobodoumnom i pustolovnom Nealu pronašao personificirane sve one kvalitete koje je priželjkivao da sam posjeduje. No Jack je bio drugačiji od Neala i većinu se života mučio s podvojenim osjećajima u vezi onog što želi i onog što je smatrao ispravnim. John Clellon Holmes, autor romana Go, koji se smatra prvim romanom beat pokreta i Jackov bliski prijatelj, imao je svoje mišljenje o Jackovim unutarnjim dvojbama: 

 

 "Jack in those years was literary of two minds. When I first met him he wanted to get a farm in New Hampshire. He didn't want to live in the city. He didn't want to go on the road. He was looking for some girl to marry and get a farm somewhere up in New Hampshire, raise a family. Thanksgivings. Christmases. All of that. And yet he was drawn, of course, in the other direction. More powerfully, as it turned out. But at that point these two things were completely clashing in him. His father's admonition to take care of his mother and be a good boy was very, very strong in him then. And yet his pole toward chaos, toward the road, toward the West, was equally strong, indeed. Stronger, as it turned out."

 

Cesta je na kraju prevagnula i Jack se u ljeto 1947. godine pridružio svom prijatelju na putovanju po američkom kontinentu, a njihove su pustolovine rezultirale djelom koji se smatra jednim od klasika svjetske književnosti. Luanne Henderson, Nealova petnaestogodišnja mladenka koja je u knjizi utjelovljena u liku Marylou, odnos dvojice muškaraca opisala je sljedećim riječima:

 

"To me Jack and Neal were like two much younger men than they actually were, like two kids, maybe eleven, twelve years old, getting their first buddy, their arms around each other over the shoulder type of thing. They could talk, they could have fun, and it was ' t a sexual thing. very close and very warm and discovering things together, or discovering that they hade liked the same things, that they had thought the same things... But Jack didn't have the easiness that Neal did, accepting whatever the situation happened to be for what it was, for the moment. This was something that I think Jack admired in Neal, as well as his unending vitality... What one didn't have, the other gave. All during the time that we were in New York, it was really almost closer than brothers."

 

Neki od Jackovih duboko usađenih načela i uvjerenja dolazili su od njegove majke Gabrielle koja je bila dominantna figura u piščevom životu. Gabrielle je bila stroga, nije odobravala Jackova prijateljstva s raznim članovima beat pokreta te čak nije puštala u kuću njegove prijatelje ako su imali dugu kosu. Jack nije uspio pronaći bračnu sreću s niti jednom ženom i na kraju se uvijek vraćao životu s majkom. Luanne Henderson dala je svoj uvid u Jackovu kompliciranu situaciju:

 

"After I got older and I saw Jack, as I did, trough the years, I think that made me sadder than anything, that Jack couldn't get away from that hang - up with his mother, the relationship with his mother, and not being able to find a good, stable relationship with a woman. He just never was able to pull himself out of that."

 

Na cesti, roman koji je Jacku donio vječnu slavu i materijalni uspjeh, postojao je u njegovom umu četiri godine prije nego što je sjeo da ga napiše (praktički u dvadeset dana), ali je trebalo proći deset godina da djelo napokon bude objavljen. Kad je Na cesti, 1957. godine izašao iz tiska sve se promijenilo. Slava je došla odjednom, gotovo preko noći i Jack se nije znao nositi s tim. Odjednom je bio pozivan na književne domjenke, morao je davati intervjue, objašnjavati se, često je bio napadan, a njegove riječi izvrtane. Sve to je bilo previše za pisca te je počeo sve više tražiti utjehu u alkoholu.   

 

Burroughs je izrazio svoje mišljenje o Jacku i njegovim konzervativnim načelima koji su se direktno kosili sa slikom o njemu koja je bila konstruirana u javnosti i s kojom se pisac nije znao nositi:

 

"It's generally constructed that Jack underwent some sort of change and became more conservative. But he was always conservative. Those ideas never changed. He was always the same. It was sort of double - think. In one way he was a Buddhist with this expansionistic viewpoint, and on other hand he always had the most conservative political opinions. He was an Eisenhower man and he believed in the old - fashioned virtues, in America, and that Europeans were decadent, and he was violently opposed to communism and any sort of leftist ideologies. But that did not change. It wasn't something that came on in his later years. It was always there, and there was no change in the whole time that I knew him. It didn't really fit in with the rest of his way of life, but it was there." 

 

Jackov se život drastično promijenio. Sad su ga opsjedale horde mladih koji su ga gledali kao nekakvo hipijevsko božanstvo. No osim piščeva života, promijenio se i cijeli svijet. Jackova tadašnja djevojka, koja je u knjizi nazvana Irene May (ime koje joj je Jack dao u djelu Books of Dreams), opisala je promjene koje su uslijedile i pomele naciju:

 

"No one was quite prepared for the way all of this broke upon the scene, On the road, pot smoking, LSD, the coffe shops started opening up and the poetry readings began. Suddenly there were millions more people on earth, and they all seemed to be coming to Greenwich Village. I had the feeling things were getting a little out of hand here. This big media maw, also millions of kids. three, four, a hundred, fine, but not millions. Its mind-staggering. And I think a lot of people felt that way. It was just a sheer mass-or mess- of numbers, and the whole game, everything just sort of changed."

 

No život nakon slave bio je razočaravajuć za Jacka. Prijateljstvo s Nealom se raspalo, druga djela koja je objavio nailazila su na nerazumijevanje javnosti. Svoje zadnje dane provodio je pijući i gledajući televiziju dok je Gabrielle spavala u susjednoj sobi. Bio je usamljen i često je zvao stare prijatelje na telefon i pričao s njima satima. Gabrielle je slavnog pisac držala na tjednom džeparcu te bi iščupala telefon iz zida kad bi došao veći telefonski račun. Imao je ozbiljnih zdravstvenih problema, a njegova djevojka u vrijeme izlaska romana Na cesti, spisateljica Joyce Glassman, opisala je piščeve strahove i boljke koje su ga pratile do kraja života:

 

"He had really been ill. He had been on the Veterans Administration Hospital, and he had a problem with blood clots. He was very, very aware of it. He had this sense that his life is going to be cut short, that it could happen at any time. He was really much more preoccupied with it than anyone realized, in the sense of time passing, and so on."

 

Uskoro su se u kratkom roku zaredale nesreće. Njegova sestra Caroline preminula 1964. godine, Gabrielle je pretrpjela moždani udar koji ju je paralizirao, a Neal je preminuo u Meksiku, 1968. godine. Jack se nije mogao pomiriti s njegovom smrću te se volio pretvarati da je Neal još uvijek živ, tamo negdje na cesti. Godinu dana kasnije, slijedio je svog prijatelja na finalnom putovanju, 21. listopada 1969. preminuo je od abdominalnog krvarenja uzrokovanog cirozom jetre.

 

Jack Kerouac bio je kontradiktorna osoba, neshvaćen i rastrgan između želje da bude poput svog idealiziranog Deana Moriartyja / Neala Cassadyja i duboko usađene potrebe da bude dobar sin i uzoran pripadnik društva. Njegov život bio je daleko od slike koja je u javnosti stvorena o njemu, a na beskonačne upite novinara pisac bi samo odgovarao da je svoju istinu već napisao u knjigama. No možda u njegovom slučaju i nije bitno pronaći i utvrditi finalnu istinu. Možda je dovoljna samo spoznaja o tome što su Jack Kerouac i njegov roman pružili generacijama koje su uslijedile, a to je bila besmrtna ideja; ideja o slobodi, o bijegu, o odlasku na cestu...

 

"He trained us in that epic idea that... you didn't necessarily have to take it in Dipstick, Ohio, forever... Kerouac set me out there with my own key to the highway."  Thomas McGuane

 

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ISSN 2459-9379

Editors: Natalija Grgorinić, Ljubomir Grgorinić Rađen & Ognjen Rađen

 

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