• SumoMe

Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” was one of the most incredible books I read in my late teenage years. Most men, before and into their low twenties, have an overwhelming desire for adventure. Kerouac’s work tells the story of a world before mine, where hitchhiking was normal and highway security was minimal. The characters in the work are all real people masked with pen names, and the adventure was very real (although the novel was admittedly a creative work). Kerouac wrote the book in one continuous scroll of paper on his typewriter after he got home from the road trip and his manic personality resulted in the continuous prose.

The book’s plot is all over the place and rehashing it is a good way to ruin any desire to read the book, if you haven’t already. The main character Sal, and his friend Dean, are both on this trip together and the work outlines how their relationship changes as they go from New York to the West Coast, then to Mexico, in a jalopy of a car. Needless to say they get in trouble, get out, and have some strange (to say the least) experiences along the way.

While the book is great, what inspires me most about “On the Road” is the story behind its creation. Most people dream of writing a book, but never get past the first chapter because it’s one of the most tiring and creatively-straining art forms. Kerouac dreamed of writing a book, and so he sat down with a scroll and typed it out. Boom, done. Sure, he planned what he wanted to say before he started, but he still typed the book on a huge piece of paper.

When I want to achieve something lofty, I tend to think of this book and Kerouac’s scroll. The road to success is usually paved on bricks of failure, and the only way to do something is to do it. Men, especially, have a tendency to over-think things and spend their time “shoulding” instead of doing. Kerouac wanted to be a writer, so he wrote. This sounds ridiculously simple, but its a concept lost on many in the current generation who have dreams of greatness but can’t escape the glowing Xbox screen.

I recommend “On the Road” to anyone who enjoys adventure, beatnik culture, or is simply interested in reading a product manically typed on the scroll. All are valid reasons, and regardless of your motive, I’m sure the book will inspire you in some form or fashion.