1 January – Kerouac drinks and converses with Jack Fitzgerald and later, his mother.
2 January – Kerouac writes letters and rests, preparing for his last great push to complete The Town and the City. He reads at night through a bout of sadness. He writes Allen Ginsberg: “How many times do I have to tell you that I understand all about the Forest of Arden, the reservoir, etc., and so forth, I agree with it wholeheartedly, I’m all for ripeness and greatness, and it’s you, it’s YOU goddamnit who keeps fourling up the harmony. (That type error ‘fourling’ comes from the French word for f-ck, ‘foure.’) I am not afraid of you …” & “In this letter I’m trying to straighten out your suspicions and can make no real effort towards rich complexity due to excitement and happiness. Excuse the crudeness of the logic. So many rich wonderful things are happening—it seems as though some sort of climax is being reached, a kind of climax that can only end in death, years later possibly. It seems as though I have a great fear of happiness. But I’m happy these days. Jack Fitzgerald, with whom I’ve been drinking for two days and nights, said last night: ‘Goddamit whenever I met a woman who really liked me I was horrified and mystified.’ To show you what a great soul that kid has, I’m enclosing a letter of his with this, and I want you to spare no effort in preserving and returning that letter to me, I’m entrusting you with something very valuable and don’t go and lose it, hear? (Nealism). In all of Jack’s conversations and stories there runs a definite metaphysical thread, elicited through these expressions—‘So he walked away in the night,’ or ‘I looked at Celine when I met her that first time and Goddamit she seeped slowly into my life,’ or ‘There’s one guy I’ve met in this world who seems to not give a shit what direction he’s taking.’ etc. In other words there’s always a hint of ‘the night,’ and ‘this world,’ and a confrontation of souls, that ‘seep’ into each other slowly:- I know you’ll like this.. It’s your Xmas present.
Now about the Raw Youth. Just a day before I received your card asking me to mail it to Patterson I had taken the damn thing into town to Ed White’s room so that you could pick it up there. So I made a special trip to N.Y. to mail it myself, but Ed wasn’t in his room and I couldn’t find him. A few days later I was in North Carolina for the holidays. I got back three days ago and I just mailed the damn thing off to Patterson. So explain it to your old man: the whole affair was a pain in the ass. But it’s straight now. So here I am telling you that you need not think I’m shying away from you, but actually looking for you. (Does that frighten you?) Remember that somersault you did over the bed in Joan’s room that night, when you had a vision of complexity and of your own cleverness? Well, turn another one, because what you said to Neal is all wet, and I’m pissed off at him for assuming that I would shy away from you like that. I’m going to write him a letter too.”
4 January – Kerouac writes at night, including some correspondence (one to Neal Cassady), and then work on the “city-episode” of The Town and the City. He also solved two significant plot obstacles.
5 January – Kerouac commences writing early in the afternoon and completes 3000-words. That night he experiences “gleeful little things around me” as he lay in bed: “almost real, corporeal, and I envisioned little fairies, butterflies, dancing moth-shapes, whole swirls and hosts of them, all around me, I felt like Gulliver, with little things dancing gleefully all over me and around me, and more interesting: it seemed that these little ‘fairy glees’ of our life were amazed with me because I had discovered them, because I had “turned my head and seem them,” and in the simplicity of their little hearts, were pleased with me, loved me, danced around me, ‘their champion and king,’ were happy because I had seen them.”
6 January – Kerouac writes 2500-words.
7January – Kerouac attends a stage performance of Crime and Punishment starring John Gielgud, feels “lost” and writes 1000-words at night. Neal Cassady writes Kerouac from San Francisco. He is seeking from others “the answer to the soul.” In writing, Cassady forges (accidentally) the compositional credo for Kerouac: “I have always held that when one writes one should forget all rules, literary styles, and other such pretensions as large words, lordly clauses and other phrases as such, i.e., rolling the words around in the mouth as one would wine and proper or not putting them down because they sound so good. Rather, I think, one should write, as nearly as possible, as if he were the first person on earth and was humbly and sincerely putting on paper that which he saw and experienced, loved and lost; what his passing thoughts were and his sorrows and desires; and these things should be said with careful avoidance of common phrases, trite usage of hackneyed words and the like. One must combine Wolfe and Flaubert — and Dickens.” Furthermore, he expresses that “art is good when it springs from necessity,” which Kerouac shares into his journal. Cassady plans on learning a musical instrument like saxophone and is “plagued” by hives.
8 January – Kerouac writes 3000-words. Neal Cassady responds to an undated letter of Kerouac’s (typing with one hand due to an injury), undertaking a lay analysis of Kerouac’s dream about Allen Ginsberg and an “idiot” symbol derived from Dostoevsky to which Kerouac identifies as himself. Cassady goes on to give his opinion of Lucien Carr: “a young fellow who some years ago began a cycle of events in which he was the principal antagonist.”
9 January – Kerouac feels “lazy” and writes nothing. Talks with his mother.
10 January – Kerouac doesn’t write at all. Attends a perfomance by Sarah Vaughan on 52nd Street.
11 January – Kerouac reads Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again. He writes 2500-words until he is “interrupted” by a visit by Allen Ginsberg at 4 a.m. to tell Kerouac he is “going mad.” Kerouaxc calms him down and reads him parts of The Town and the City wherefrom Ginsberg declares it as “great as Melville” and “the Great American Novel.” Kerouac does not believe him: “It seems to me, that he is just like any other human being and I see that this drives him to his wit’s ends. How can I help a man who wants to be a monster one minute and a god the next, and never makes up his mind with his earthly will, and goes on wandering to and fro snarling and fawning at people, and never resting, and never wanting to rest, and always accusing me of being stupid because I like to rest once in a while and because I like myself occasionally, and believe in work and like things and people once in a while.”
12 January – Kerouac declares Dostoevsky’s A Raw Youth an “evil book.” Neal Cassady buys a 1941 Packard Club Coupe for $1195.00 After putting 14,000-miles on the car, he gives it back.
13 January – Kerouac writes 3000-words.
14 January – Kerouac writes 1500-words.
15 January – Kerouac writes over 1000-words.
16 January – Kerouac goes to Manhattan and drinks a “quantity of whiskey.” He receives 1500 sheets of quality bond paper from Tony Monacchio.
19 January – Kerouac recognizes that it is the anniversary of his novel’s composition. Since then, he had written 225,000 words for The Town and the City. He resolves to complete the writing of the novel before his 26th birthday on March 12. He writes 1500-words.
20 January – Kerouac writes only 500-words. Neal Cassady quits his job at McKales after feeling suicidal. In an attempt to kill himself, he drives fifty miles per hour through a busy intersection.
21 January – Kerouac writes 1000-words in “slow torture.”
22 January – Kerouac tries to write and ends up crossing it all out.
23 January – Kerouac goes out on a “slight” drinking binge.
24 January – Kerouac is motivated to start a new novel after he finishes The Town and the City. He writes 1500-words.
25 January – Kerouac writes 1500-words.
26 January – Kerouac writes 2000-words.
27 January – Kerouac writes 2500-words.
29 January – Kerouac is “out in New York suffering.”
30 January – Kerouac writes 2500-words. He has issues with self-awareness. His mother tells him that his friends are a “bad influence.” Though he doesn’t want to reconcile with her thoughts, he finds that he tends to agree with her.
31 January – Kerouac spends the day reading and attending a movie with his mother. The cold weather forbids him from staying up at night to work.
1 February – Kerouac tallies his total word count for January 1948 at 30,500-words. He still plans on finishing his novel by his twenty-seventh birthday, March 12. He lets Ed White and Hal Chase read an excerpt from the “City” portion of the manuscript, and they both feel that the character of Peter Martin seemed remote from the action.
2 February – Kerouac writes approximately 2000-words and ends up crossing it all out. He is challenged by the “City” part of the novel.
3 February – Kerouac goes into town to buy his mother a present for her birthday, February 4. He meets with Hal Chase and Ed White.
4 February – A blizzard sweeps over New York. Kerouac has a thought: “Town & City is tremendous story, because I’m making it tremendous.” He writes 1500-words.
5 February – Kerouac writes 2000-words with significant effort.
6 February – Kerouac experiences self-doubt as a writer and questions his sanity. He goes out to take a break by listening to Lennie Tristano on 52nd Street.
7 February – Kerouac writes in the afternoon “without much success” until something breaks, and he begins writing with “gusto.”
8 February – Hal Chase comes to the apartment of the Kerouacs where he and Jack talk until late night. Though the talk clears Kerouac’s brain, he is still experiencing a fog “about how to continue the flow of my novel at this point, technically and spiritually.” On Neal Cassady’s birthday, Neal tries to kill himself after stealing a .38 caliber revolver that he puts to his temple.
9 February – Kerouac starts over a portion of his writing in pencil which he feels is the only way to write “sincerely and sensibly.” He finds that his thoughts cannot keep up with the limitations of a typewriter (despite being a speed typist).
10 February – Kerouac writes more slowly with absorption into the material. He plans on showing the manuscript to a publisher (Whittlesey House) by March 21.
11 February – Kerouac types out 3500-words of the manuscript and writes 2500-words of new material.
12 February – Kerouac types 3500-words and writes 1000-new words.
13 February – Kerouac goes into the city and talks “all night in cafeterias.
14 February – Kerouac takes his mother to a movie.
15 February – Kerouac reads at his house and types out 3500-words at night. Later, he scans through the novel-in-progress.
16 February – Kerouac types 4000-words.
17 February – Kerouac writes 2000-words and types out 3500-words for manuscript. Later he walks 2.5 miles around Manhattan. He buys a Lowell, Massachusetts newspaper and feels that at last, “Lowell was part of the whole world, after all.”
18 February – Kerouac types 3500-words and writes a “few hundred” more. He has plotted the novel right down to the end at last.
19 February – Kerouac writes 1500-words and types out 3500-words for the manuscript.
20 February – Kerouac writes 1500-words, 1000 of which for the “sea-chapters” in another section of The Town and the City. William S. Burroughs writes Allen Ginsberg from New Waverly, Texas telling him that he spent two weeks at the Lexington Narcotic Farm in Lexington, Kentucky (a federal cure compound) “for the cure.”
21 February – Kerouac goes out drinking in Yorkville Germantown with Hal Chase and Ed White. They spend the day talking about women, literature, the sea and psychology.
22 February – Kerouac and Ed White drink beer until dawn, talking woman, the world and jazz.
23 February – After taking his mother to a movie, Kerouac walks three miles and takes introspective notes.
24 February – Kerouac types 3500-words and reads Sinclair Lewis’s Kingsblood Royal until late in the night.
25 February – Kerouac types 3500 words for his manuscript. He writes 2000-words by pushing himself “methodically and painfully and reluctantly back to real driving work. There’s no other way.”
26 February – Kerouac experiences difficulties with writing the “city” section of his novel. He goes to a movie that evening and afterwards, works on his novel until late at night.
27 February – Kerouac writes 1500-words and types another 3000 for his manuscript.
28 February – Kerouac writes 1000-words and types 2000 for his manuscript. Kerouac decides to “write ceaselessly about the dignity of human beings no matter who and or what they are […]”
29 February – Kerouac writes 1000-words. His total word count for the month of February, by his estimate, is 23000.
1 March – Kerouac writes 1000-words. He makes plans for his future, yearning to live and love women, and to travel at his whim by the time he turns 27 years old. Neal Cassady drives 2894 miles to Denver, Colorado without sleep in an attempt to divorce LuAnne Henderson. During the trip his car slides into a ditch in the freezing cold Continental Divide for seven hours. Unsuccessfully he tries to freeze himself to death before a bus pushes him out. He drives back to San Francisco.
2 March – Kerouac goes into the city to go to the movies, watching Diamond Jim (1935) and The Spoilers (1942). A “beautiful blonde” on the subway makes an advance toward Kerouac, who resists because he thinks she is a “$10-whore.”
3 March – Kerouac writes 500-words at dawn. He goes to the library and checks out three books on American history, the Oregon Trail, and Old Spanish Trails. At night, he writes 2000-words.
4 March – Kerouac writes a “little, read, walked, etc.”
5 March – Kerouac writes 500-words and typed on his manuscript. He goes to New York at night where he runs into crowd of “new” people and starts a drinking binge. After driving thirty-six hours straight through Wyoming and Utah, Neal Cassady arrives in San Francisco. On the way he picks up a “young girl” named Joy and catches pubic lice. Later he drives her to Sacramento, California and drops her off at a whorehouse (by his account).
6 March – Kerouac continues his drinking binge by consuming “1,000,000 glasses of beer.”
7 March – Kerouac returns home to find Hal Chase and Ginger Bailey waiting for him.
8 March – Kerouac suffers from a cold that had building up for several days. He assesses a total word count of 13000-words in the past five days.
20 March – Kerouac tears an article written by Joseph Barry from the New York Times: “To Understand France, Study Her Clowns; Their art, ranked with that of Moliere, is a touchstone of the national character.”
22 March – Neal Cassady meets another “girl” and proceeds to coerce her into a threeway orgy.
30 March – Neal Cassady succeeds in his attempt to drive for forty-six hours to Denver, Colorado to obtain a legal divorce from LuAnne Henderson.
31 March – Neal Cassady returns to San Fransisco from Denver. He experiences car trouble most of the way. As he approaches San Francisco, he gets into a minor car wreck.
April – Kerouac writes Allen Ginsberg – “Then it gets darker— ‘And it was so: the sun was setting, leaving a huge swollen light in the world that was like dark wine and rubies, and long sash-clouds the hues of velvet purple and bright rose above, all of it sombre, dark, immense, and unspeakably beauteous all over: everything was changing, the river changing in a teeming of low colors to darkness (dig that?), the abysses of the streets to darkness, etc., fabulous thousand-starred glitter, etc., etc.,’ and finally, as you look across the river to Brooklyn—‘the swoop of the bridges across the river—the river like pennies—to Brooklyn, to the teeming, ship-complicated, weaving-soft incomprehensibly ruffled water’s-end and the very ledge of Brooklyn.”
1 April – Neal Cassady legally marries Carolyn Elizabeth Robinson to become his second wife.
2 April – Neal Cassady begins his job on the railroad. For the time, he must take “student trips” without pay for training purposes.
10 April – Neal Cassady returns his new car after putting heavy mileage on the odometer. In total, he had only paid $200.00 in payments.
17 April – Neal Cassady completes his training for the railroad.
27 April – Neal Cassady goes to Watsonville, California in order to find a regular paying job with the railroad. He must stay in the vicinity in order to get any paying work.
May – Kerouac completes The Town and the City, 1100-page manuscript at 350,000 words.
6 May – Neal Cassady gives up on finding work with the railroad in Watsonville and decides to try his luck with going to sea. He has connections with the Marine Division of Standard Oil Company who “fixes” him up with a new prospect.
8 May – Neal Cassady obtains papers to work as an Ordinary Seaman with the merchant marine.
10 May – Neal Cassady finds work at last with the railroad and gives up on the merchant marine prospects. He has work enough to last him until January 1949. After that, he plans to take to the sea to remain gainfully employed.
17 May – Neal Cassady departs for Bakersfield, California to work for the railroad.
18 May – Kerouac writes Allen Ginsberg who had been staying in Paterson, New Jersey for the past several days, that he has heard at last from Neal Cassady. Cassady had requested from Kerouac a statement of character for his application to the Southern Pacific railroad where he wants to work as a brakeman.
19 May – Neal Cassady begins working for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Bakersfield, California.
5 June – William S. Burroughs writes Kerouac and Ginsberg informing them that he was just arrested for drunk driving and public indecency after he was caught in a parked car with Joan in Beeville, Texas. He is arrested, fined $173.00 and bailed out of jail by his parents after spending a single night there
7 June – Neal Cassady gets a call to work in Pixley, California working for a local union picking potatoes. He takes the job.
16 June – Neal Cassady writes Kerouac from Pixley, California. Cassady explains the reason behind not answering the last several letters of Kerouac’s and the latest happenings in his ever-turbulent life. He shares news of Carolyn Cassady’s pregnancy and his plans to name the child after Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg (if it’s a boy!). Carolyn, however, feels the whole thing would lead to nothing more than incompatibility over household tasks.
23 June – William and Joan Burroughs sign a deed to sell their east Texas farm.
27 June – Kerouac writes Neal Cassady. He writes of his plan to live in a commune-type setting on a ranch with family and friends, including Cassady.
late June – Allen Ginsberg to Neal Cassady: “I spent 30 hours at Jack’s — we talked, drank bottles of beer, showed each other the latest manuscripts, and mooned about you — The great event was your letter — we had assumed you were in jail or something — I of course had fantasized you dead, more or less, and even suspected suicide some months back. Myself, this spring has been one of madness, much like yours. Frenzy, frenzy, creation that is worthless, drinking, school, etc. I’ve been working part time and so I had about an even stint of money, and bought a lot of records. What finally pulled me out — to name an external cause since they are the signs by which we mark seasons — was Jack’s novel. It is very great, beyond my wildest expectations. I never knew.”
3 July – Ginsberg is staying with Russell Durgin at his Harlem apartment at 321 East 121st Street and reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He develops a “brotherly feel” for Durgin who is also a student and writer. It is at this address that Ginsberg experiences his Blakean cosmic vision/hallucination while he masturbates. He hears the voice of William Blake reciting poetry. Over the next several weeks, he continues to experience a heightened awareness.
5 July – Neal Cassady writes Kerouac from 160 Alpine Terrace, San Francisco. He apprises Kerouac of all of his accumulating expenses with wife and forthcoming birth of their child. He pictures a commune-type living arrangement, not only with Kerouac, but also within their circle.
6 July – Ginsberg returns to Paterson to spend time with his father. He invites Kerouac to come for a visit to their home any time the following week.
8 July – Kerouac writes Ed White from Jamaica, New York giving a progress report on his writing developments of The Town and the City.
July – Neal Cassady to Allen Ginsberg. Cassady seeks to put an end to their friendship: “You and I are now further apart than ever. Only with effort can I recall you…”
23 July – Neal Cassady writes Kerouac from San Francisco. He chides Thomas Wolfe as an “overdone, overripe Gulliver.” Cassady demonstrates a spate of writing to music from his phonograph culminating in heightened physical self-presence. He plans on taking $2.00 an hour saxophone lessons in September and psychoanalysis in October. He asks of Kerouac of an opportunity “speak more freely” and by doing so, to “improve my direct, simple style of writing.”
2 August – Burroughs purchases a house at 509 Wagner Street in Algiers, Louisiana, across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter, for $3,800 on a promissory note he gave to the seller, the Eureka Homestead Society.
3 August – Neal Cassady to Allen Ginsberg – Cassady speaks from his “awakened soul’s being” with an onslaught of self-loathing, reaches out to Ginsberg to be his “father” as Kerouac is his “brother and Carolyn, his wife. Cassady explains his reading of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot and how he had first read it in reform school in 1943. He also dsetails details about hsi sense of consciousness: “I have periods of semi-consciousness, similar to dozing off or just waking, which are not dreams, nor guilt nightmares, but, are great impressions of things. Often, as I sit on the sand-box of the huge locomotives, I am lulled into a stupor by the drive-wheels’ rhythm, and this phenomenon occurs. This is not a new thing to me — I first had dreams of such vividness years ago — but now they are not as they were then.”
4 August – Neal Cassady continues his letter to Ginsberg from August 3 after a seventeen-hour freight train run.
20 August – Neal Cassady to Allen Ginsberg – Cassady shares his plan to name his child, if it’s a boy, Allen Jack Cassady. If it’s a girl: Cathleen JoAnne Cassady.
22 August – Neal Cassady continues August 20 letter to Ginsberg: “Love you, Allen, my mate.”
late August – Ginsberg feels that he is going mad from his visions. To Kerouac, he writes “I am insane does that surprise you?”
September – Kerouac continues to suffer rejection letters from publishers unable to consider The Town and the City for publication.
5 September – Kerouac to Neal Cassady. He urges Cassady to write with more regularity since he had not heard from him since July 1948.
7 September – Carolyn Cassady gives birth to a girl, Cathleen JoAnne. Cassady writes Ginsberg to share the news.
10 September – Neal Cassady writes Kerouac from San Francisco. He labels Kerouac a “true “All-American”” He emphasizes again the true freedom they can share in expressing themselves as honestly and frankly as possible. He also shares news of the birth of he and Carolyn’s daughter, Cathleen JoAnne Cassady and Carolyn’s new job in Hollywood, California working at Western Costume, Company to which she will be turned down by letter’s end.
mid-September – Kerouac, Carr and Tom Livornese enjoy a night on the town on Sixth Avenue, drinking Pernod Absinthe at the Rochambeau bar in New York City. Afterwards, Livornese leaves with his date. Kerouac and Carr continue to drink and watch the sunk sink into the west. Later, he and Carr meet up with Kerouac’s young girlfriend, Jinny Baker. Though Kerouac makes love to her in Carr’s absence, he feels she loathes him and wants to be mistreated. He writes Ginsberg: “If all the world were love, then, how could love exist?”
18 September – Kerouac writes Ginsberg from Ozone Park: “I’ve been having some very mad thoughts since I saw you…”
22 September 22 – Neal Cassady continues letter to Kerouac dated September 10 sharing news of his daughter’s birth.
25 September 25 – Neal Cassady concludes letter to Kerouac dated September 10. Carolyn Cassady’s application for a job on Hollywood was turned down. He pleads once again for Kerouac to come to California to be with him.
7 October – Neal Cassady writes Kerouac that he is still waiting for RR job to fall through in November for Kerouac. He extols the virtues of their friendship in a letter on this date.
8 October – Kerouac fills out a Registrar’s slip for the New School for Social Research in New York City. The requested course is for Elbert Lenrow’s 20th Century Novel America.
October – Kerouac finds out he is entitled to a $5000.00 G.I. Loan. Immediately he makes plans to buy a farm.
13 October – Kerouac takes notes on Walt Whitman and his conception of himself as an American poet as lectured by Alfred Kazin.
14 October – Kerouac takes notes on Frank Norris’s McTeague (1899) as lectured by Elbert Lenrow. Lenrow also lectures on Theodore Dreiser. William S. Burroughs writes Allen Ginsberg that his farming prospects “looks very good.” He contracts to buy a lot in the Woodland Acres Subdivision in Kenner, west of New Orleans, from the Trudeau Syndicate.
15 October – Kerouac is lectured on “myth patterns,” Poe and Dostoevsky at New School. He types one page of prose titled “Hank Lambert.” Later, Kerouac reads Walt Whitman poetry on Union Square. Cassady continues letter to Kerouac started on October 7. He is happy about his new daughter, Cathy and recognizes that sex used to drive him, but now it is music. However, he realizes he is just making up stuff as he goes along for sake of writing his letter. He shares that he just had a “vision” about Kerouac. He continues letter on November 1, 1948.
18 October – Kerouac writes Neal Cassady, pleading that he must write more often. Kerouac has been “through a period of great tightness and tension of soul.” He tells Cassady that he may be the “Walt Whitman of this century.” He then extols the virtues of Whitman and his poetry.
20 October – Kerouac writes a term a paper on five writers “or one” for the New School.
25 October – Ed White writes Kerouac asking about the “big love affaire” he promised to write about.
27 October – Kerouac studies “Song of Myself” with Alfred Kazin at the New School. Kerouac notes that Whitman is more than one mind, but consists of several.
29 October – Kerouac is lectured on Stendahl’s The Red and the Black and Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. He writes Ed White telling him that the title of his next novel will be Doctor Sax and subtitled “The Imagination of Kids” as well as an update on his other writing projects.
late Autumn – Ginsberg remains in Paterson, New Jersey for several weeks.
November – During a conversation with John Clellon Holmes, Kerouac quips, “So I guess you might say we’re a beat generation.”
1 November – Kerouac discusses Tolstoy and feels that women are angered by Tolstoy’s timidity and that he was ugly. He writes in another notebook, a “composing diary,” of his thoughts on writing. He no longer recognizes ““moods” as my real enemy but the psychology of accept-or-reject underlying their violence.” He has already written three false starts for his planned story about “Doctor Sax” and vows to write it at last in two months as a short novel of 50,000 words. Cassady concludes his letter dated October 7. He responds to Kerouac’s last letter which he received and tells Kerouac that he has been busy working with sixteen hours on the road and eight hours sleeping in a work-week cycle. He is antsy for the following day when he will learn whether or not he is keeping his railroad job. Also, he feels he has lost his libido and his “penis is sore from blowing & masturbating.” He alerts Kerouac to watch for the envelope, and if it is checked “Tes” or “No.” If it is “no,” Kerouac is to come west at once to San Fransisco.
2 November – Kerouac starts writing at 1:00 a.m. in Bickford’s Cafeteria, finishing about 2000-words. At noon he takes a mile-long walk before sitting down to start to integrating an earlier draft of Doctor Sax (from 1943) into his present project. He harbors hopes that the new novel will be a success.
3 November – Kerouac goes to New School for studies and to earn money for rent and expenses. He talks to Alfred Kazin after class about his finished novel. Afterwards they go to Dave Diamond’s home where he meets novelist Marc Brandel. Later he gets “blotto” with Lucien Carr.
4 November – Kerouac attends Brom Weber’s class at New School with John Clellon Holmes. Later they go to Holmes’s place to drink beer. Kerouac calls Harriet Johnson to come over to join him, Holmes and his wife, Marian. That evening, Kerouac has a “mad sex-night with perverse Harriet, a virgin.”
5 November – Kerouac has a morning talk with his mother before leaving for Poughkeepsie, New York to see Jack & Jeanne Fitzgerald. There he meets 17-year old Thea whom he coerces into sex upstairs at Fitzgerald’s house.
9 November – Ed White responds to Kerouac’s letter of October 29th chiding him for his lonely lifestyle. Kerouac hitchhikes home from Poughkeepsie, getting a ride straight into the Bronx, New York from a truckdriver who tells Kerouac, Life….is a mystery.” Once home he starts to write On the Road, putting Doctor Sax aside for the time being and accomplishes 6000-words. That night, he visits with John Clellon Holmes and Tom Livornese. They have an argument about Kerouac’s “sex idea.” William S. Burroughs writes Allen Ginsberg from Algiers, Louisiana. Though his financial situation is improving, he is unhappy with his living conditions. He feels that Kerouac would benefit from collaborating with a “professional writer” that knows how to edit in order to commodify his writing to “marketable proportions.”
10 November – Kerouac receives letters from Alan Temko in Paris, and Ed White in Denver. He writes 2000-words. He also writes “Whitman: A Prophet of the Sexual Revolution.”
11 November – Kerouac writes 800-words at 3 a.m. That afternoon, he writes another 1500-words of On the Road. Later he goes into the city to see friends, including those he recently met at the New School. He wrties “Notes on the sexual revolution.
12 November – Kerouac writes 2500-words for On the Road. Later he goes to Times Square with John Clellon & Marian Holmes.
13 November – Kerouac writes 3000-words for On the Road. He wonders if he could work Doctor Sax into the storyline.
14 November – Kerouac writes 2000-words on On the Road.
15 November – Kerouac signs in at New School in order to collect his pay and later attends artist Alan-Wood Thomas’s art opening at Carlsbach studios in Manhattan. He eventually gets drunk, “spouts Shakespeare” and argues with John Clellon Holmes over “political consciousness.”
16 November – After attending Alfred Kazin’s class at New School, Kerouac returns home and writes 700-words for On the Road.
17 November – Kerouac attends class and feels especially elated by a few people he meets: Dick & Marilyn Neumann; Welborne; Sando Burger and the wife of John Taleyko. He later writes 1000-words and afterwards, a letter to Neal Cassady pleading that he wants to kiss his feet, not because he is trying to be “Dostoyevskian,” but because he is “afraid to die.” He wants forgiveness. “I could shout this letter across the country to you, just dig my sickness for a moment,” and it is the sickness of consumption, of being consumed, obsessed and inspired, so much that full-length books pour forth from his pencil, across and through typewriter keys. It isn’t the man he sees, but the ideal of the man. He writes Neal Cassady pleading forgiveness and is worried about being rejected by him. He asks “am I not also your blood-brother because I too have been in jail?”
18 November – Kerouac writes 3000-words. That night he attends a party with many of his New York City friends.
19 November – Kerouac is anxious for word from publishers Little, Brown and Atlantic Monthly. At night he writes 1500-words.
20 November – Kerouac writes 2500-words and writes the first draft of an essay, “Whitman: A Prophet of the Sexual Revolution for Alfred Kazin’s course at New School. He also writes a letter to Alan Harrington.
21 November – Kerouac goes to New School to sign-in for his check, skips class and walks to Times Square to attend a screening of Captains Courageous (1937) and San Francisco (1936). The former, he remembers, prompted him to start novel writing at 13-years old. Later, he writes 1000-words.
22 November – Kerouac writes over 5000-words.
23 November – Kerouac writes Alan Harrington and used Ginsberg’s letters for research purposes in writing On the Road. Later he attends a night class of Alfred Kazin who lectures on Herman Melville’s Redburn and then gets “sick drunk.” Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr have to carry Kerouac, in his stockinged feet, over each shoulder. He sleeps in Lucien’s car.
24 November – Kerouac “staggers” home at 9 A.M. He has a duck dinner for Thanksgiving with his mother. At night, Tom Livornese visits Kerouac at his apartment.
25 November – Kerouac goes to the movies with his mother: “I love my mother, my sweet, dear little mother…a person like all the other treats I happen to know so accidentally.”
26 November – Kerouac writes to Paul Blake Sr. proposing that he and his faily come live with them in New York. He watches Army/Navy game in a bar. He later visits with John Clellon Holmes.
27 November – Kerouac visits Alan Wood-Thomas’s house with John Clellon Holmes. He meets Wood-Thomas’s married model, Pauline and falls in love with her.
29 November – Impatiently, Kerouac sends Little, Brown a letter to follow-up on his manuscript submission of The Town and the City.
30 November – Kerouac writes Ed White. William S. Burroughs writes Kerouac from Algiers, Louisiana with publishing advice and his status as farmer. Burroughs writes Allen Ginsberg, schooling him on the ethics of crime. He informs Ginsberg, “I will be leaving in a few days for the [Rio Grande] Valley to look after my interests there, and may extend my trip into Mexico. I hope to rid myself of the habit in the course of this trip.”
1 December – Kerouac writes 5000-words on Leon Levinsky in Times Square for The Town and the City. By 4 a.m. he finishes with 25000-words. He writes a draft of “Whitman: A Prophet of the Sexual Revolution.”
2 December – At 4:30 a.m. Kerouac (in Bickford’s Cafeteria) writes of the “most horrendous thoughts of my life tonight, though they really don’t bother me.” He has a long talk with Professor Charles Van Doren about “civilization” and “where it is coming from.” Van Doren recommends that Kerouac read The Revolt of Asia (1947) by Robert Payne. William S. Burroughs writes Allen Ginsberg from Algiers, Louisiana inquiring where to send a batch of “tea”. He gives Allen advice on employment prospects, suggesting that he only work for himself. He encloses an article on “the Texas labor situation.”
Early December – Neal Cassady, one of the newest employees, is laid off from the Southern Pacific Railroad due to a successful vote to repeal the Southern Pacific’s “Full Crew Law.” Cassady’s friend, Al Hinkle, marries Helen Henide. Cassady offers to drive them on their honeymoon to New York City. The means of transport, a 1949 Hudson. From there, Cassady plans on driving Kerouac back to San Francisco.
7 December – Kerouac writes Ed White to which he relays his meeting with Jack Fitzgerald of which he calls it “one of the greatest times of my life.”
8 December – Ed White writes Kerouac.
13 December – Kerouac writes notes from a letter to Alan Temko.
15 December – Neal Cassady places a long-distance phone call from San Francisco to Ozone Park to tell Kerouac he will be coming (with Al Hinkle) to New York in his new car, a 1949 Hudson to pick him up in North Carolina (after agreeing to Gabrielle Kerouac) and bring him back west to Arizona in order to work on the railroad. Kerouac posts ten dollars to Cassidy.
16 December – Kerouac writes to Allen Ginsberg – “I have decided that I am dead, given up, gone mad.” He also shares that Neal Cassady will be coming to New York for New Years Eve.
Late December – Kerouac writes an essay, “Dreiser and Lewis: Two Visions of American Life” for Professor Elbert Lenrow’s 20th Century Novel in America course.