Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Mad Ones - Me and Jack Kerouac

When I first read Jack Kerouac, I felt as though something inside of me opened up like a multicoloured flower, petals raised high and reaching for the sun. I felt as though Kerouac had written his words just for me. So, it came as no surprise that, with me being so close to Lowell, I would seek out his grave.

Edson Cemetery, located in the middle of a neighbourhood, is quiet, quaint and nothing near to being creepy. I drove into the lot and parked Jackie then made my way inside the office, to which the employees grinned when I told them just why I was there. Everyone wanted to see Kerouac's grave; my request was nothing new to them. I received my map, thanked them profusely, then set off.

As I walked down the road, I stared at the tombstones, each portraying their history and their part overall to the history of Lowell. Ravens and squirrels were my companions and I no longer heard cars. I was truly in the land of the Dead.

The walk was quite nice and as I approached Kerouac, I felt myself getting a bit nervous; I was about to meet one of the Beat Generation and one of the many reasons why I am an author. I stepped into the grassy square, walked several steps, then saw him. I caught my breath.

I actually said hello and placed my hand on the stone, then sat down next to him and scribbled a note. If you look at the photo above, my note is on the bottom left next to NOV. I felt tears and let them fall. I told him that I wanted to be one of the mad ones and I hoped he heard me. I kept looking behind me, expecting to see a groundskeeper laughing at me, yet there was no one. I focused my attention on the site, only to turn back around. I felt someone observing me yet saw no one. Quickly dusting myself off and getting rid of the ants, I walked back to my car. As I walked back, I cried again. I know - how can I cry over someone who has been dead all this time? Yet, they were not tears of sadness. They were tears of finally meeting him and understanding what it meant to truly live. My return walk made me realize that we are here to live.

And so, I shall. Like a Mad One.

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