On the Road

“It changed my life like it changed everyone else’s” Bob Dylan

“I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. I had just gotten over a serious illness that I won’t bother to talk about, except that it had something to do with the miserably weary split-up and my feeling that everything was dead. With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road. Before that I’s often dreamed of going West to see the country, always vaguely planning and never taking off. Dean is the perfect guy for the road because he actually was born on the road, when his parents were passing through Salt Lake City in 1926, in a jalopy, on their way to Los Angeles. First reports of him came to me through Chad King, who’d shown me a few letters from him written in a New Mexico reform school. I was tremendously interested in the letters because they so naively and sweetly asked Chad to teach him all about Nietzsche and the wonderful intellectual things that Chad knew. At one point Carlo and I talked about the letters and wondered if we would ever meet the strange Dean Moriarty. This is all far back, when Dean was mystery, Then news came that Dean was out of reform school and was coming to New York for the first time; also there was talk that he had just married a girl called Marylou…”

Jack Kerouac

On the road with Jack Kerouac and Kassady
On the road with Jack Kerouac and Cassady
Tablet taken ... Jack Kerouac 'making a Dostoevsky madface of Russian Basso BeBop Om' in 1953 for his friend Allen Ginsberg's camera. Photograph: Allen Ginsberg/Corbis
Tablet taken ... Jack Kerouac 'making a Dostoevsky madface of Russian Basso BeBop Om' in 1953 for his friend Allen Ginsberg's camera. Photograph: Allen Ginsberg/Corbis via Guardian
Driving it home ... On the Road's Dean Moriarty was modelled on Neal Cassady, left – but do we need to be constantly reminded? Photograph: Allen Ginsberg/Corbis
Driving it home ... On the Road's Dean Moriarty was modelled on Neal Cassady, left – but do we need to be constantly reminded? Photograph: Allen Ginsberg/Corbis via @Guardian
a map drawn by the author himself
a map drawn by the author himself via @openculture.com