Finished Robert Stone's Dog Soldiers. Written in '75, it's very much in the same vein as Apocalypse Now and that flick's association with the themes addressed in Hearts Of Darkness.
Needless to say, I really dug it and plan on digging in to some more of his work.
Two weekends ago I was drinking beer with my friend Ron and telling him about Stone's book. Also mentioned to him how I finally scored a copy of Robert Bingham's anthology of short stories, Pure Slaughter Value - I'd been on the search for this one for years.
Ron laid Barry Hannah's Ray on me before I left that night.
Fuck me was that a great book.
All this reading has got me jazzed. I'm been deligently working on another short story; juiced man I am.
So today, to capitalize on my gas'ed up newfound inspiration, I went to the Wilson library on the campus of UNC where they currently have an exhibit on Jack Kerouac's On The Road. UNC has a real fucking awesome collection of Beat Lit. City Lights Books proprietor Lawrence Ferlinghetti went to UNC back in the '40s. Of course he was just Larry Ferling back then.
So one of the things they have on display is the scroll that Kerouac wrote On The Road on; it is a sight to behold - one long run-on sentence. Now I've never been a huge fan of the Beats, never got obsessive about them (save for my desire to possess every chapbook in the Pocket Poetry Series), but seeing this really put the whole Beat scene into perspective. Much like burgeoning music scenes over the years (Seattle, Minneapolis, Chapel Hill etc.), you can see how the whole thing got momentum and soon became the shell of its former shelf.
But along the way, thanks in part to Ginsberg's foresight to archive much of it through photographs, you get to discover what fueled this small group of authors who would drastically change the course of contemporary American literature. They all seemed to feed off each other; collaborating with each other; acting as another's agent; helping one type. Really, these guys were like family and the collective mindset helped them forge this new world of literature.
Man, I gotta go write!