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#RIOTGRAMS Day 18: The book I never finished

Embarrassing to say: it’s ON THE ROAD. I’ve poured through 90% of Kerouac’s published matter – much of it more than once (more than twice) – but when a writing prof. told me my first novel reminded him how he felt reading On The Road, I knew even opening that book would shut me down as a writer.
Kerouac book covers for On The Road

He made the comment praisingly – he meant well and I’ve never forgotten his encouragement. The day he said it, I was only 3 chapters into finishing a novel it eventually took three years to wrap. At that time, I’d read one thing by Kerouac: his LIST OF ESSENTIALS.

Over the months and years during which I pushed through writing Torpor, I accumulated a stack of Kerouac titles – including OTR. I didn’t open a single one of them until the week I knew I had not one more line to type in that novel. Like a glorious vacation postponed and held out as a golden carrot, I opened Dharma Bums and finally began to meet Jack Kerouac in the core of my spirit.

One after another I burned through my beat library, saving On The Road for last.

Less than halfway through, I abandoned it – relieved to discover it lorded nothing over what had become of Peter and Dennis and Maria and Carlos in the book I’d made real, free from Kerouac’s shadow. Free to love him ten times more – not as an influence but as a kindred spirit and fellow writer, one to admire.

All of the following Kerouac titles, I read through and through — these and more, including interviews and correspondence with other writers. Here’s the stack I devoured:

  • Desolation Angels
  • The Dharma Bums
  • Heaven and Other Poems
  • Big Sur
  • Book of Dreams
  • Visions of Gerard
  • Visions of Cody
  • Mexico City Blues
  • The Scripture of the Golden Eternity
  • Scattered Poems
  • San Francisco Blues
  • Pomes All Sizes
  • Book of Blues

The novel, TORPOR, finished in 1996 and published anew in this century, is available on amazon http://mybook.to/torpor–perez   It’s nothing like On The Road (let me know if you disagree…).

quote from Torpor with image of a classic Rolleiflex camera

Torpor: a novel by Laurie Perez | 324 pages | ISBN 1453684751 | Amazon | http://mybook.to/torpor-perez