Your reaction to art can change as you age.
On this journey across the country, I took two books with me: Lonely Planet’s giant USA travel guide and Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. The travel guide, although ten year’s old, serves as a gloss for popular sites and venerable lodgings. On the Road, I read for the second time.
I’m a finisher. I’ll slog through tedious projects to close them out. On the Road was different. I once started On the Road three times, each time putting the tedious novel aside. Kerouac rambles so.
Soon after college, I picked up On the Road for the fourth time. I cruised through the book finding it one of the finest ever written. I marked pages and excerpted passages. I danced with Moriarty’s “yes, yes, yes” and wanted to find their “IT.” I was ready for travel and looking for life.
A re-read during this unmooring road trip might provide solace. Yet now I’m older and more responsible–if you can believe that. On this pass through the writing, I roll my eyes at the careening folly of Kerouac’s gang. Few of them support themselves. They buy or steal cars and soon wreck them. They marry impetuously, father children, and run away from family. They travel arduously from New York to San Francisco, stay a mere ninety hours, and bounce on to Denver.
There are times of life that should be experiential. Go west, young man, and see cities, roads and parks. Drink a lot, be foolish, and sleep in train stations. Find what is out there.
However, constant movement becomes wearisome and eventually pointless. There are times for laying foundation. In this second reading of On the Road, I realized that I no longer just want to experience the new. I want to create something, add to the new, and plant roots.
I am traveling with different intentions. I’m reconnecting. I’m bringing much of me with me in that beat-up car. I’m sifting thoughts and making great plans.