The Idiot, (that would be Myshkin me in hopes of earning a living as a writer)
“And what is it after all to be beat?” i
Kerouac replies, “the innocence of not understanding [. . .] the money-ways of civilization,” . . .
Jack’s “dedication to writing was a serious vow of poverty” ii
Burroughs was right:
“Be a plumber” iii
Or a Ramones drummer (even if after fifteen years you’re still treated as a hired hand not a brother)
Better a Joe Strummer strummer
Or a gas-guzzling Hummer
A hitch-hiking thumb thumb thumber
It’s a bloody bore and a bummer
Nothing could be downright dumber
(Dahlin’, fill up this here tumbler
With a celery stalk and cucumber)
Than to dream of earning a living as a writer
“ . . . an old bum called out, ‘Hey, you young Beatnik, got a quarter?” iv
i Gewirtz, Isaac. Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac on the Road. (New York: The New York Public Library in association with Scala Publishers, London, 2007). p. 86.
ii Nicosia, Gerald. Memory Babe. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994). p. 353.
iii Morgan, Ted. Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012). p. 502.
iv ibid., p. 501.