Retracing Jack Kerouac is a project 20 years in the making. Having read On The Road for the first time all those years ago, the fascination with Kerouac’s work and his life story never left me. The intervening years were spent reading most of Kerouac’s books and doing research into his life as well as other writers and characters associated with the Beat Generation.
As On The Road is to no small part about seeing and experiencing the USA, the prospect of taking a trip visiting some of the places described in the book as well as other places important to Kerouac’s life, was always somehow in the planning stages, however vague they were for a long time.
The possibility of finally making this trip presented itself in 2010 and so I didn’t hesitate to go on the road in October that year. The journey took me to places such as San Francisco, Denver, Boston, his hometown Lowell,MA and New York City.
The journeys between those places were partly done by train (from SF to Denver and through the Midwest to Omaha). Of course Kerouac and specifically On The Road is mainly fabled for the long distance car journeys with Neal Cassady, but train (and bus) travel actually played an equally prominent role in his life and indeed On The Road, so I felt compelled (together with more practical concerns) to go down this route when planning the trip.
I came back with about 4000 photos, not all of them good, but many of them Kerouac themed. At the moment I am compiling a book featuring a selection of the photos that I feel are most important to his life’s story. The aim is not necessarily to show the actual places things happened, as in the intervening years the cities, places and houses have inevitably changed a great deal or disappeared altogether, but to capture a little bit of the spirit of what is left of those places wherever that was possible. Other photos show the transformation the places written about in his books have gone through.
The book will be published in early summer 2012 and will be called ‘Anywhere Road’.
The blog you are reading was started to prepare myself for the upcoming publication of the book and features my thoughts, photographs and other bits of information related to Jack Kerouac that will guide me through the process of finishing the book.
Thank you for reading.
All photographs on this blog were taken by myself unless stated otherwise