12.04.2006

A literary anecdote

This weekend at a Berkeley cafe, I met a man who had met Jack Kerouac. (I think he overheard me talking about my recent reading of The Dharma Bums.) He said he met Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady in Big Sur around '61 or '62, and he was surprised at how "physical" Kerouac was, "like a lumberjack."

He also said he Kerouac and Cassady punched and hugged each other a lot, so he thought there was a "homoerotic" relationship between them (what can I say? He's a psychiatrist.). He also mentioned that he knew Gary Snyder. He said Snyder used to collect seashells in his hat as a way to pick up women. I still can't figure out how he used seashells in his hat as a pickup line, but apparently, it worked.

Gotta love Berkeley!

6 comments:

Carl V. said...

Yes...because the only reason men can hug or wrestle around with each other is because they are gay. No wonder men are so skittish about showing their affection physically when that is the assumption that is made.

Kate S. said...

After reading a few biographies of Kerouac, I was left with the impression that there was more to go on than hugs and punches. It seemed to me that there was something about their penchant for sharing women that had more to do with connecting with one another than connecting with the women in question. Mind you, it's been a number of years since I did that reading, so my memory on that point could be faulty.

A very interesting story, LK!

bloglily said...

Now that's not fair! Whenever I go to a cafe, I always sit next to the people talking about electronic equipment they've just bought -- or want to buy. I'm clearly not hanging out in the right places.

BikeProf said...

I'm with Bloglily--I never knew the right places to hang out, either.

LK said...

Carl, I agree. This guy got his psychiatry papers in the late 50s, so he's steeped in the Freudian.

Kate, you are most likely right on how Kerouac and company connected. They definitely pushed the boundaries in terms of relationships, with each other and others.

Bloglily, ugh, at least they could be considerate enough to indulge in some spicy gossip. You and BikeProf would love this cafe -- it is intimate and quiet, and sort of inspires people to talk to each other. I also met a physics professor there who taught Mario Savio. One night he brought in his scrapbook, with all of these photos of the free speech movement and candids of Savio. Of course, all of these people are in their 70s and 80s. I guess maybe I hang out with the geriatric crowd too much!

litlove said...

My publisher is the only person I know who knows famous people. He hangs out with Stephen Fry and William Boyd and Will Self and Geoff Ryman. I look all perky and interested whenever he mentions them in the hope of an invite one of these days, but it never happens....