rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

Decimation and Melancholy

The air reeked and the sun was a red blotch until late afternoon, when a breeze from the southwest finally reached us and shoved some of the pollution back toward its area of origin. The eastern sky remains obscured, but the northwest was almost blue in the hour before sunset. I can still smell the scent of burning brush clinging to everything, but the inhaled air no longer feels abrasive. The paled light of afternoon reminded me of Los Angeles during the fire season, though in Los Angeles we usually got ashfalls with fires, and there've been none here. I'm glad of that. It's always disconcerting to find a bit of ash that is easily recognizable as a bit of leaf or a feather or a patch of animal fur which disintegrates to a powdery residue when you touch it.

I'm running on very little sleep tonight, and my anxiety level has gone much higher than usual. I feel like joining the dying cat under the credenza and just lying there facing the wall. If we both die at the same time maybe we could get a twofer at the crematorium.

Today was the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, a book about which I've intended to write here on several occasions. I've never gotten around to it. Maybe I never will, but this seems an appropriate occasion to do a brief comment on it, especially since the anniversary has provided the occasion for the publication by Newsweek of what I find to be a surprisingly decentish article about Kerouac and his book, penned by their staffer David Gates. Gates writes that On the Road "... might be the saddest novel you'll ever read." I certainly thought it so when I first read it at the age of eighteen, but then and over the years since I've found this view of Kerouac's best-known opus to be uncommon.

That's one of the reasons I've wanted to write about it myself. The book had some influence on my view of reality and of literature when I was younger (which influence lingers still, I'm sure), but it was not the same influence that it had on so many other readers. My view of Kerouac and his work has always been ambivalent. Maybe I'll get around to writing about it someday, but for now I'm mired in a melancholy almost as intense as that which I beleive drove Kerouac to write frenetically, but which has rendered me listless and irritated by words.

Be still now, computer.

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