Go is a semi-autobiographical novel by John Clellon Holmes that is considered by many to be the first novel setting off the Beat Generation. Set in New York City, the book dipicts the lives of Holmes and his friends who used to inhabit the underworld of the city. Drug fuled parties, all night drinking bindges, free spirited sex, writting, reading, and searching for their meaning and place in the world is the main theme of the book, as seen through the eyes of Paul Hobbes. Hobbes is torn between his wife Katherine, who works to support his dream of becoming a published author, and his new eccentric friends, who somehow make him realize that there is more to life than what is on the surface.
Hobbes’ character is one who is fascinated with his new friends outlook on everything, but he manages to keep a certain distance from becoming completly engulfed in their lifestyle. This distance sometimes angers his new friends, but not because it bothers them, but because they want Hobbes to really “be in it”. To let go without worry. The main characters in the book follow the same outline as do many of the Beat Generation works, giving real people, fictional names.
Paul Hobbes (John Clellon Holmes) two best friends in the book are Gene Pasternak (Jack Kerouac) and David Stofsky (Allen Ginsberg). Stofsky is always rambling, thinking, and trying to figure everyone out. He has visions of William Blake, the English poet, painter, and printmaker, and even has dreams of talking directly to God. Gene Pasternak is a good friend to Hobbes, who regularly sleeps on his couch to avoid the long commute back to his house on Long Island. Through these two wild characters, he meets the most beloved Beat Generation figure of all, Hart Kennedy (Neal Cassady). Hart is the wildest of wildmen. He practically invented the phrase GO. During parties, or poems, or outrages, Hart would yell GO GO GO GO! Not to antagonize, but as a sign of approval, a sign that people must not act as they have been programmed, but to act as if no rules apply to them. He knew that life was short, and you only get one chance to make the absolute most of it.
This book is filled with adventures, lessons, meaning, and situations that make you reflect on your own life, and it is still relevant 57 years after it was first published. This book to me represents what many of the other Beat books do, a feeling of being free. The characters who were at the core of the Beat Generation had a vision of life that was different from what the rest of society saw. They were not afraid to act different, to think different, and to be different. They expressed their thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a way that I only wish I was brave enough to do myself, and their journies have prooved to be a great inspiration to the many generations that followed.
“I actually yearn for life to be easy, magic, full of love.”
It was to Holmes that Kerouac once said, “You know, this is really a beat generation.”
The most beloved childrens book of all time has finally made its way to the big screen, and it will be directed by non other than Spike Jonze. I love this tag team because Spike is just an all around cool guy. He has directed the movies Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, a ton of skate videos, commericals, music videos, and is also the co creator of Jackass, co owner of Girl Skateboards, and co creator/owner of Dirt magazine. That sounds like a pretty good resume to me. But taking on the challenge of Wild Things is a hefty one to say the least. This is a book that most every child at some point has come across, and fell in love with. Our new President Obama even read it at the White House Easter Egg hunt, addding, it was one of his favorite books growing up.
Where the Wild Things Are is a story of a young boy, Max, who is sent to his room without dinner, for chasing the dog around the house, with a fork, while sporting a wolf costume. That actually sounds heroic to me, but im not a parent, and I really like wolves, so my oppinion might be somewhat scued. Anyway, after being sent to his room without dinner, Maxs’ room begins to turn into a wild jungle. After exploring his new land, he comes across the inhabitants who are Wild Things or Monsters. The Wild Things are fearsome-looking monsters, but Max conquers them “by staring into their yellow eyes without blinking once,” and he is made “the King of all Wild Things.” However, he soon finds himself lonely and homesick, and he returns home to his bedroom, where he finds his supper waiting for him, still hot.
It is important to note that this book is only 10 sentences long. 10!! With that being said, it should come as no suprise that this book was open to a lot of interpritation. According to the know all be all source that is Wikipedia, Francis Spufford suggests that the book is “one of the very few picture books to make an entirely deliberate, and beautiful, use of the psychoanalytic story of anger. I guess this guy is trying to say that Max was so vexed at the idea of going to bed without his dinner, he imagined a land where he could conquer even the most intimidating and dangerous creatures one can imagine. Either way, the trailor looks amazing, Im stoked, and Obama has already invited me to a early screening at the White House. What can I say, thats what happens when your a lead author for Zoot Patrol, the mightiest and most dominating internet blog in the land. I also cheated the system and voted for Obama 323 times, so that probably means something to the guy too.
I just finished reading Ham on Rye, by Charles Bukowski, and holy shit, Im happy I didn’t know this guy during his teenage years. His hard upbringing and constant struggles with kids at school turn him into a brawling alcoholic, who is quick to take on anyone who looks at him the wrong way. The book basically chronicles his life through from the time he started school, until he finally decides to drop out after only a year of community college. Along the way, he has to deal with an abusive father, who is never satisfied with anything, and takes pleasure in giving his son daily beatings. Also, he seems to be cursed with the worst skin of all time, making him feel like he isn’t even a part of society. He has absolutely no shot with the much prettier, much more middle and upper class girls he goes to school with, and he seems to always find himself toe to toe with the toughest guys in town. Eventually, he goes out on his own, but by this time, his drinking has become so bad, he fights all of his “friends” and can not find steady income. He tends to always talk about being with girls, as if he wishes it was possible, but he feels that there is no way a women would be interested in him.
When I started reading this book, I felt bad for young Henry (Bukowski’s alter ego in the book). His father set standards that he knew he would never reach. He sent him to school in a rich district, because he wanted other people to think that their family was well off, which it wasn’t. His father has lost his job during the depression, and instead of asking for help, he got in his car every morning, and pretended to go to work. He was too proud to ask anyone for a hand out. He held Henry to the same standards, always yelling at him, and calling him a loser, a lazy bum, someone who wants nothing. He was picked on at school, and in order to be able to show his face, he took to being a tough guy. This behavior was constant throughout the book. It started out as him defending himself, but soon grew to him not knowing when to keep his mouth shut. He had grown so cold to the world that he had no interest in being liked by others, and he let everyone know it.
At first, I liked it. I thought, “man, this kid has something that I don’t. The ability to really get in someone’s face when he feels taken advantage of.” It was almost inspiring in a weird kind of way. But as the book wore on, I started to wonder what the hell his problem was. He was fighting his own friends all of the time, and it seemed that most of the conversations he would have with strangers would start out “you know I can take you right?”. He based everything he would do on being a tough guy. He felt that after all he has been through, all the times he had been kicked into the dirt by life, the only thing he could do, and do well, was fight.
He could drink like a fish, and thats what I liked the most about him. He would get so fall down drunk he would throw up in his sleep. He would smoke many packs of logans a night, and almost always down more than 1 bottle of whiskey, wine, a case of beer, whatever he could afford. There is one part in the book where he meets a new group of kids. They seem like they are bad. Bank robbers, small time theives. He liked them. They had a drinking contest, in which Henry won. Along the way of course he almost fought 2 of his new drinking buddies, but ended the night 80 dollars richer. After leaving the house, the whiskey hit him all at once. He couldnt stand or walk. He opened the back door of a random car, hung out for a bit, puked all over the floor, and eventually made his way home. Other than rare occasions like this, he did most of his drinking alone. This part I liked because he was secure with himself, and his thoughts. Thats not to say he liked everything that he had become, but he enjoyed his own company, and thats important. If you cant be happy with yourself, all by yourself, then you cant be happy with other people. His drinking did make for some very memorable parts of the book, but it was also undoubtably leading to his downfall. It doesnt take a genius to figure out that when you blow all of your rent money on booze, nothing good is going to come of it.
Charles Bukowski has written more than 45 books of poetry and prose, including many popular novels. He is kind of a mans man, who wont take shit from anyone. He wants to smoke, drink, screw, and hate the world, and it was refreshing to read something that wasnt all rainbows and sunshine.
Trivia: A young, much less ugly Micky Rourke played Bukowski in the 1987 movie Barfly. Check it out.