January 29, 2013

'I never met anyone else like Jack Kerouac.'  Joyce Johnson

In the 1950s, Joyce Johnson was the girlfriend of the hottest novelist of the beat scene. It began at a restaurant counter on Eighth Avenue, on a blind date arranged by Allen Ginsberg, he in a checked shirt, she in a red coat and lots of eye shadow. Two years later, in 1958, it ended drunkenly, tearfully, outside a restaurant on a New York street corner.

"I think he had a grass-is-greener idea about women. I also think he was very messed up about women because of his overly intense relationship with his mother. And in a way, I think, flitting from woman to woman was his way of staying faithful to his mother - no one was ever going to supplant her as the fixed figure in his life." When Johnson and Kerouac finally split for good, it was after he had spent an evening drunkenly flirting with another woman right in front of her. "Choked with pain, I searched for the worst words I could think of. ‘You’re nothing but a big bag of wind!’" she writes in Minor Characters. “‘Unrequited love’s a bore!’ he shouted back. Enraged, we stared at each other, half-weeping, half-laughing. I rushed away, hoping he’d follow. But he didn’t."

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    This is massively depressing.
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