“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”- Jack Kerouac, On the Road,
Well, I walked in last night from driving from Savannah to Islamorada and back in one day, seventeen and a half hours covering 1098.4 miles. I have always enjoyed driving, sometimes I get energized, sometimes it is numbingly dull. Yesterday I carried my son to a Boy Scout High Adventure camp in the Keys where they board a schooner and sail the Caribbean for a week. I use Jack Kerouac’s nome de guerre for his friend Neal Cassady for the pun of this post because Neal has always been an inspiration to me and because I didn’t have half a jar of ether in the floorboard of the car.
No seriously, Neal Cassady was not necessarily the protagonist of two enormously influencial books, ON THE ROAD and THE ELECTRIC KOOL AID ACID TEST but without him neither book could have been written. I would love to have that kind of influence on art, not the focus but the catalyst. And you know what? I have no doubt that there have been times I have been a catalyst in lives, especially my children’s. There have also been times in my life that God sent one person after another to me to tell me that I had an impact on their life and they would thank me. I guess that was His way of encouraging me to keep it up. My daughter said that I am legendary in her circle of friends for my comments and observations. I asked her what she meant and she cited the time she had lost her wallet causing me to spend hours cancelling credit cards and such and in frustration I turned to her and told her, “I am so tired of your ‘flowers in your hair’ routine.” Which obviously tickled the tar out of her friends. Or the time I made the two little ones watch “Jaws” as we moved into the beach house. There are plenty of other incidents but that is for their blogs and remembering. But I think most importantly that I have been there, even in my mad humor I have been there for them. So I hope I have given them the confidence and not loneliness to be able to say good-bye and move on to the next adventure.
So in the sense of being a catalyst I guess I could draw a parallel to Neal, that and we both spent time driving a lot. Sometimes it pays to just live, to play full-out, like I tell my kids “try your hardest” and wonderful things happen. You will lean forward to move on to another adventure.