I have come very late to Jack Kerouac, but I’m getting there.
On the Road lies buried beneath piles of unfinished books, to be exhumed eventually.
And that exhumation will happen much sooner thanks to the publication of Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954, now out in paperback.
We witness Kerouac in his early to mid twenties, working (on and off) on Town & the City, the immediate predecessor of On the Road. And later, we’ll see him working on that masterpiece itself. (I put that in future tense because I’m about 25% finished.)
Along the way are doubts, assurance, drop-ins from a crazed Allen Ginsberg, careful note of how many thousand words of new prose each day brought.
It’s refreshing to see that every writer has his or her own heavens and hells to negotiate.