We made good time down Michigan Avenue, parked in Grant Park North garage under the street and got up the stairs at about 3:30 at 30 N. Michigan. The Writers’ Museum (nope, no possessive) is at 180 N. Michigan, 2nd floor. We paid $12 each to get in. It was OK. The best parts were the typewriters. M had conversation with a law student over the typewriters while I communed with Kerouac’s scroll: I noticed places where it seemed he adjusted the scroll so it didn’t go off the—so typing didn’t go off the paper. And edges were ragged in spots and there were handwritten corrections and also—
what—I’m not sure I have any deep thing to say. I’m feeling a little tired now as I write. I could go nap. Cat’s on back of dark-blue couch. He was lying on my hi-viz vest (“Ogle County tuxedo”) and I put the blue blanket under him, and he settled in, and later I folded blanket over him, leaving his head and a strip of his back visible.
And the scroll—I guess I don’t have any deep thoughts there. Maybe just that I was seeing the creation of these stories, this story that became mythic. I was seeing the foundational layer between his experiences and published book.
Back with a third round of tea. I’m not quite sure what it means to say a “foundational layer,” except maybe that this was the first putting-down of Kerouac’s thoughts into words.
The old advice about writing—show, don’t tell—but my journaling voice shows by telling—and Kerouac, too—his narration is a big part of the fun, the joy, of On The Road. I recall now seeing “OTR”—over the road—on trucking mags at Petro and wishing these things were more hip to Kerouac. Of course, what do trade publications care of personal narrative? I’m trying to imagine my mind then—a mind that would want that kind of, of what, society-wide awareness of Kerouac? Or just some cultural writing? I’m not sure—things that get popular tend to get dumbed down. Not all people get them as I do in my way. But now that I’ve been a teacher, I’ve seen how I can’t expect others to be what I want—others have very little interest in doing what I want them to do.
M said she’s proud of me to being open. After Writers Museum (the typewriters and the typed pages hung on wall clips, and a [fill-in-blanks game] computer screen and a Magpo screen), we ate at Noodles & Co. (is name correct?) next door, walked south. We were met by a lot of people crossing Michigan—I thought how rural types need to see this city-humanity richness.
We walked over east but not alla way to lake, over the twisty bridge over Columbus, and back and sat at the Grant Park MusicFest orchestra concert. [end of page 45]
[page 46] This page is one article—it (and the earlier one about restaurants) reminds me of how a city has so many cool places—and I underlined pieces here as an erasure-type poem—read just the underlined parts—there’s the poem (quasi-poem, anyway)—
[Underlined phrases conjoined:
Take grown-ups only. Try to cool yourself down.
Nothing says “1950s” like Honor the Midwest.
Keep it Heavy.
Is there such a thing as Joy credit?
Nostalgia makes for a visit. Take your notch, recently opened.
You can also add.
No dairy necessary for a regular, and boy, do they. Trust us on this one. Dabble with pecan. You can keep creative.
If your’e OK sharing your experience with a flood fudge, staple flavors like Raspberry. You haven’t lived.
Did we mention there’s a top?
Nobody puts a corner. This local killer count out Options.
What pairs better with a window: hole-less?]
[Page 45’s text continues onto page 48]
I’m just gonna leave those previous two pages with minimal additions by me, word-wise.
So we left after two songs—a Rimsky-Korsakov [Overture: The Tsar’s Bride] and [another song, unnamed]. Left garage about 7:30 or 7:40. Minimal traffic. Got to Woodman’s at Algonquin at 8:30.
[From journals of Sat., 12 August 2017, Journal 257, page 42-8]