Saturday, June 20, 2009
tonight is a sad night...
first of all...i finished a book...a book that took me six years to read.
secondly...i finished a book...a book that i've had with me for the past six years.
i finally finished "on the road", a process that's taken me an embarrassingly long amount of time. i bought the book in 2003, the summer i stayed in manhattan to work construction. with all my friends out of town, i thought reading this classic would help pass the time. i started reading, and made it a few chapters. however school started back up, and it soon found it's way to the shelf. months would pass, i'd find it, decide to start over, and begin the journey again. however, things would happen, school would happen, life would happen, and it remained unread.
during these past six years, i've taken several trips. the last item i'd always find myself packing would be my copy of "on the road", always thinking i'd have time to read it while on the trip. deep down though, i think i just packed it for the irony. it followed me to the beaches of san diego, where it's pages got filled with sunlight and sand, only to be brought back to the midwest, unread. it then followed me to the west coast during my internship. eight months later, when i moved back, it was still unread. it's been to the ninth ward of new orleans, the bars of austin, the sidewalks of chicago, the coffee shops of portland and the foothills of denver. always with me, always waiting to be concluded.
a few months ago, i felt it was time to give the images of sal and dean, that have been wandering the road in my mind for the past six years, some rest. two individuals struggling with the conventions of how society told them they had to live, and their own ideas of what it means to be free. i sat down and decided i was going to make it all the way through this time. not only did i take the time to comprehend every sentence, but i found a wonderful online study guide to aid my reading. after every few chapters i would go on-line to review the analysis and study the major themes.
for the past six years, sal and dean have been companions of mine, fitting nicely into a cozy spot in my [man-satchel] next to my sketch book. tonight i feel as though i said good bye to some dear friends. it seems only fitting tonight that it's raining. kerouac used the symbol of rain throughout the novel to suggest the passing of time, as i finished the book, dreaming and wondering about my own life, rain is hitting my bedroom window. rain which will then fall to the sidewalk below. those drops will flow through man-made pipes and channels until it finds it's way to the arkansas river joining all the other drops from all the other windows of dreamers and wonderers. after traveling through oklahoma and arkansas, it will join the mississipi. a river thick and muddy with the hopes and dreams of the whole country. they'll all eventually make their way to the gulf and become part of the endless sea. they'll evaporate into the air and form into clouds, clouds that will one day rain on wichita again...
maybe by the time those drops hit my window again, i'll have things figured out....
thanks for a great story jack.