Sunday, January 4, 2009

'Last Remnants of Kerouac'

The New Year starts with a little bit of depression today--I may be doing a show called 'Bohemian Cowboy', but each new move is always an adjustment. I do like the new digs, but sleeping is always an issue for about a week or so. So last night, I couldn't sleep and so I finished the Kerouac book--I think reading a book like that, and the dramatic ending of the drunkard's death really put me in a funk. Then, the New Year is always a big build up that forces you to challenge the upcoming year. I'm excited to get to the rehearsals, (I start on Wednesday), and I'm sure it will dramatically change my direction, which will be a good thing. Cousin Scott has been 'hanging out' with me, and I think he will be a great asset for the show--he has that youthful energy--he gets things done like so many in our family, so I am glad he is on board, and glad that there is family around. 

I think the striking thing about Kerouac is his willingness to be both vulnerable and honest, it is hard to tell, however, whether the majority of  his honesty came from the drink. I did detect though, long periods when he 'got to the writing', there was much  honesty in the writing. I think he was so damaged by critics, so many writers have that vulnerability that creates such angst in not being accepted. I have had my own detractors,  (as most writers do) Ginsberg says towards the end of the book, "No one really understood what he was doing..." Alcoholics who cannot quit all face the same end--and it is tragic. Kerouac died the classic drunk's death, a hemorrhage of the esophagus. Blake said, "I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted with the enjoyments of genius which to angels look like torment and insanity." If ever there was a writer who saw so much of it, it had to be Kerouac.  I used to say that "being an alcoholic is one of the hardest jobs there is..." Most would not see it as a job, but drunk or sober, it takes a daily maintenance of relentlessness, to keep either one alive.  So, I am off to Border's today to get another book, but really, the book was as exhaustive of any biography I've ever read. The other biography I loved was 'Shakey', which was Neil Young's biography. Kerouac always kept a copy of Boswell's  biography of 'Samuel Johnson' near him when he wrote. 

This week is an important week in maintaining the discipline. There is an image to create, (Scott and I are doing a photo shoot tomorrow) I've decided on the image I want--I'll put on my cowboy duds and grab a suitcase, we'll got a back shot of me waiting on the corner of the old flea bag hotel, The San Moritz on Sunset Blvd. I appreciate the images I've received from several of you so far, and I may use something of them somewhere, we'll wait until we have the photos tomorrow. Then there is the press release to do, the media list to find, and an assorted array of other tasks that need to be done. I have a six hour rehearsal block Wednesday through Sunday, (when I signed the contract it was for both plays) so, I will definitely get plenty of rehearsal. 

I hope your New Year is good one. I suppose with the new leader coming to us on the twentieth of this month,  we are all hoping for changes. 

7 comments:

annk said...

I am relieved to have you 'living the life' instead of floating down the river. Seems like a positive step in spite of the ending of the book. One does have to open the mind to understand all the drunks of the world. May everyone live through it! Your mom seemed a bit downed by the one she is trying to understand. I am relieved that mine is sober, at least. Understanding is still needed. Rehearsal will bring some sort of change, I'm sure.

Gerry said...

Yes, reading Memory Babe is like spending some serious time with one of the world's worst alcoholics, surely, who was so powerfully gifted. That cannot help but remind me of Doc and his apparent determination or fatalistic acceptance of dying drunk. I am surely glad that this did not become your fate. That alone has always given me hope. Kerouac also reminds me so much of Pierre since they were both French Canadian and of Catholic origins. I felt I could understand Pierre a little better by reading this book. The Scot forbears, too, were given to drink, it seems with one dying of alcoholism on the King side. Many have been laid low by the ravages of alcoholism. For centuries it seems. Good to talk to you today and hear from you again. I know you have been busy. Mom

caroline said...

Cheering you on, Raymond! New Years in Boulder was great with perhaps the beginning of a new tradition, fireworks. The same ones we couldn't launch the past two Julys due to fire risk.

All good vibes toward the first rehersal...

Pamela said...

I'm sure you are looking forward to starting rehearsals. I look forward to hearing about it.

TJ in Boulder said...

Reading this I've been thinking about rehearsal. When I was studing somatic psychology I developed a real appreciation for the non-verbals of acting. So much goes into communication. Posture, vocal timbre, facial expression, gesture, the pause.... All this and knowing the dialog. I don't believe most people realize what a high level skill good acting is. Of course, there are those who just play themselves in various forms (much of Julia Roberts, later Jack Nicholson).
Then there the challenge of theater, which is going out there every night and keeping it fresh and natural. The presentation of, "this is acting, I am actually this person."
Seems to me that acting can be like some drugs. The requirement that one be totally immersed in the role/material results, to some degree in a loss of the core self for a time. Of course, since you are doing the material you have written I'm not so sure this is true here. Perhaps, a deeper immersion into the core self here instead.
Watching with interest and loving support, your friend. T

DB said...

Kerouac defined life for me when I was 20 years old, about. He was called, driven in an old beat up bus to write, stacks of notebooks piled under the bottle. I believe the poetry came from him and not from the bottle. The booze kept the lid on the dragon.

Signing two contracts can set the earth spinning very fast. I did it once when one show was in New York and the other was in Boston. Traveling back and forth was line learning and character developing. I don't remember sleeping.

Good luck on Wednesday. DB

http://vagabondjourneys.blogspot.com/

annk said...

I must say that I enjoy seeing you walking the streets of L.A. complete with guitar and planning your show. You are actually alive and 'out there'. Each day will find you more into the role and having more fun. Embrace the life!