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The Holy Ghost Scroll

“Giroux insisted that the manuscript would have to be cut up [cut ups] and edited. Kerouac . . .  refused . . . telling Giroux that the “Holy Ghost” had dictated the novel.” i

“There’ll be no editing on this manuscript . . . “This manuscript has been dictated by the Holy Ghost.” ii

The Holy Ghost is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity: The Holy Ghost is a Person distinct  from the Father and the Son. He is God of the same essence with the Father and the Son.  iii

There is a legend that Saint Augustine was walking on the beach contemplating the Holy Trinity  and saw a boy going back and forth from the sea with a spoon carrying water. He asked the boy  what he was doing. The boy said emptying the sea. Augustine said impossible. The boy replied  it is easier to empty the sea with a spoon than for you to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity. The boy vanished. Augustine had spoken to an angel.

Holy Ghost
Holy Spirit
De Spiritu Sancto
Et ecce ego vobiscum sum omnifus diebus, usque ad consummationem saeculi.
And behold I am with you all through the days that are coming, until the consummation of the
world. iv

So, your editor (the person who is going to publish your unpublishable book), tells you to fix it,  and you reply, “No, way. This work has been decreed by the Holy Ghost.” lol
i Kerouac, Jack. On the Road: The Original Scroll. (New York: Viking. 2007),. p.32.
ii Interview in the documentary On the Road to Desolation (David Steward, dir., BBC/NVC Arts Co-production,  1997).
iii Forget, Jacques. Holy Ghost. In the Catholic Encyclopedia. (New York: Robert Appleton Co.)
iv Matthew 28:20

The Sea is my Brother

Since the fiftieth anniversary of On the Road, Kerouac has been somewhat revitalized. Despite being dead for forty years, Beat enthusiasts are still getting to read fresh material, as publishers trawl through his estate for unpublished material.

First there was the Original Scroll version of On the Road, which cast off the restraints necessary for the first fifty years of publication, and included the real names of characters as Kerouac famously wrote them in his legendary writing fit that produced a 120-foot long scroll manuscript. Next came Wake Up: The Life of the Buddha, which has been less successful, but still of great interest to Kerouac fans. It is a retelling of the life of the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, who led perhaps the first Beat life. After that there was And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, which Kerouac co-wrote with William Burroughs after the murder of David Kammerer, in 1944.

Now there is The Sea is my Brother, Kerouac’s first novel, but one which has been lost in time. It was never published during his tragic life, but Kerouac wrote the book during his time at sea. It is the story of Wesley Martin, a man who ‘loved the sea with a strange, lonely love.’

The Sea is my Brother appears to share the spirit of On the Road and Kerouac’s early Beat philosophy. It is about loneliness and a search for love in an unpleasant world. According to Kerouac’s notes on the book, it is about ‘the vanishing American… the American Indian, the last of the pioneers, the last of the hoboes.’

Another note states that the book tells the story of a ‘man’s simple revolt from society as it is, with the inequalities, frustration, and self-inflicted agonies.’ That sounds promising, indeed. Hopefully this will mirror Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘lost’ Rum Diary, which found legitimate success when released in 1998. It will certainly be interesting to see a new emergence from the period that spawned Kerouac’s greatest works.

Strangely, early references to the novel on the internet seem convinced that it will usher in a ‘new Beat Generation’, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Hopefully, Kerouac will continue to find fans for years to come, but I highly doubt this will have the same effect on society as On the Road.

The Sea is my Brother has been purchased by Harper in the US, and will hopefully emerge within the next year. It will apparently be packaged with correspondence from the author around the time of writing the book.