Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So You Think You Know Jack?

Maybe not.

5 comments:

Ron Scheer said...

Thanks for the link. A hell of a life. When I saw your header, I thought you meant Jack Kerouac. I wasn't too far wrong.

Gar Haywood said...

"If you read his work today, you can see literary semen spraying across the American century..."

Literary semen??? Spraying across???

Man, that Johann Hari can sure turn a phrase!

Bill Crider said...

I laughed out loud when I read that.

Gerard said...

Yeah. That was kinda creepy.

Fred Zackel said...

He wrote once,

“I knew of no horse in the city of Oakland that worked the hours I worked. If this were living, I was entirely unenamoured of it. I remembered my skiff, lying idle and accumulating barnacles at the boat-wharf; I remembered the wind that blew every day on the bay, the sunrises and sunsets I never saw; the bite of the salt air in my nostrils, the bite of the salt water on my flesh when I plunged overside; I remembered all the beauty and the wonder and the sense-delights of the world denied me. There was only one way to escape my deadening toil. I must get out and away on the water. I must earn my bread on the water. And the way of the water led inevitably to John Barleycorn. I did not know this. And when I did learn it, I was courageous enough not to retreat back to my bestial life at the machine.

“I wanted to be where the winds of adventure blew. And the winds of adventure blew the oyster pirate sloops up and down San Francisco Bay, from raided oyster-beds and fights at night on shoal and flat, to markets in the morning against city wharves, where peddlers and saloon-keepers came down to buy. Every raid on an oyster-bed was a felony. The penalty was State imprisonment, the stripes and the lockstep. And what of that? The men in stripes worked a shorter day than I at my machine. And there was vastly more romance in being an oyster pirate or a convict than in being a machine slave. And behind it all, behind all of me with youth abubble, whispered Romance, Adventure.”

He also wrote:

"I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze
than it should be stifled by dry rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor,
every atom of me in magnificent glow,
than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time."

Aside from the infection of racism his mom gave him ... he was an all right dude.

I'd'a sailed with him.

(He was, I guess, a seminal writer.)