Woe onto those who spit on the Beat Generation.
The wind'll blow it back.
~Jack Kerouac

 

 

And here
comes Neal
...to somehow make it across the boundariless spread of America to San Fran and Carolyn again; to gritty railyard toil of couplings, lanterns and Aztec complexities of accordianed freight-schedules, the big watch yanked out of the pocket, snorings in the caboose over the clattering miles, time-caged -- Time that could only be eluded by continual energy-expenditure that had its source in Time -- "keep a step ahead, keep your mind ahead" -- (I heard his insistent voice) -- "don't butt your dumb head against their walls, man! - look for doors, and then GO - Just leave them snarled up in their worries, their motives - it's their kick man, it's their dreary high - But, listen - never knock the way the other cat swings"

- how wearying, now, for me to think of his days drenched in adrenaline, his heart driven out by dawn, his will accepting all contingencies, beating towards the Unknown, straight on out of the kitchen-table compromises, the street wise chicanery, the square machineries of interpersonal relations, the sinister repetitions of the hour-hand, towards - what? Who knew? Did he? The stubborn, ungraspable hope that became the obsession of the prisoned spirit in his body. ~John Clellon Holmes


Why'd he come on that bus trip anyway? It happened in '64. Remember it? When the Beatles wanted to hold your hand. When Barry Goldwater won the Republican nomination and was swamped by LBJ in the fall. When a Buddhist burned himself in Saigon. When the World's Fair opened in Flushing Meadows to celebrate the 300th birthday of New York City. When three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi. When Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. When General MacArthur and Prime Minister Nehru died. When Khrushchev was involuntarily retired. When the Olympics were in Tokyo and Peter Snell doubled in gold. When Saul Bellows published HERZOG. When Peter Sellers introduced Inspector Clousceau. When the best picture was TOM JONES. When Patricia Neal and Melvin Douglas won oscars for HUD. Cassady had been dropping by Kesey's place fairly regularly. One night when he was there we turned the gain full up and stuck the micro phones on our stomaches and recorded the gurgles. Cassady's stomach was different. Ours went a -guggle, gurgle, bloop."Hear mine?" he crowed. "Twang-a-ding-twing-deedly-doop-deep?" His stomach surged and splurged at twice the speed of anyone else's; formed words he couldn't quite make out. "That's me!" Cassady said gleefully. Proof that he was a singular talent with a singular mission. No one argued. His vanity was real. He had something to back it up. His God-given, Leonardo da Vinci-like arm, for instance He flexed his bicep and held the microphone in a clenched fist, showing off."Look at that. Isn't it beautiful?" It was. A magnificent arm. Every cell glowing and preening. Even the stub of a thumb he stuck in the air, laughing at its incongruity, was beautiful. "I took a punch at Luanne, my first wife, one time years after our divorce when I was still jealous over her other men. My thumb glanced off her chin, hit the wall and splintered the end of the bone. Doctor Butcher set it wrong and osteomylitis forced him to amputate the tip." Cassady twirled his freaky thumb. Kesey nodded. "Beautiful," he admitted. And it was. The divine and the imperfect merged. But at the beginning, he was just Cassady. The man and the reputation.We knew he helped found the Beat Movement, that he was best friends with poet Allen Ginsberg, that he was the real life prototype of Dean Moriarity, the fictional hero in Jack Kerouac's novel. ON THE ROAD. That he was famous in the San Francisco Bay area for his weekend-long speed runs, his fantastic driving and his non-stop talking. What we didn't know was that the thing we were just barely starting to explore - coming on in a dramatic, meaningful way - was the thing Cassady had been doing for years. Just to get ready for this trip. ~Ken Babbs


"Dale, did you get that fuse in?" George yelled.


"Yeah, but I think it was a dome light fuse."


"Gentlemen," Cassady said, arriving at the bus with his gear, "the secret of the fuse is to think of the soul and not the ego. It took the Red Chinese years to discover swallowing tadpoles by the dozens doesn't make for effective contraceptives."

 


"Only two things I wanted out of life when I was a kid, "Neal yelled above the roar of the engine. "To run the mile in the Olympics and play left half so I could throw lefthanded on the run at Notre Dame. But then I found out I was color blind. I was out there, as youngsters will do, on the grass and all, and to me it looked red, and Charley Wooster, my Cole Junior High friend, said, 'The grass is red? You're nuts!' I was so mad at that grass I learned cars."

 

 

 


"Cassady is revved up like they've never see him before, with his shirt off, a straw version of a cowboy hat on his head, bouncing up and down on the driver's seat, shifting gears - doubledy-clutch, doubledy-clutch, blamming on the steering wheel and the gearshift box, rapping over the microphone rigged up by his seat like a manic tour guide, describing every car going by." ~Tom Wolfe

 

"there was cowboy Neal at the wheel, the bus to never never land"