Thursday, August 11, 2005

On the Road


All over the novel, there are non-intrusive
scenes with great jazz players and how they
enjoy their art and how, between their
indulgences in their destined art form, they
live the life of dispassionate human beings.
Dean's absolute awe of them and how he
watches them through their performance like
a man possessed, fills wonderful pages,
giving us a glimpse into the abstruse mind of
Dean Moriarty and what, possibly, holds Sal
to Dean.
“Shearing began to play his chords; they rolled
out of the piano in great rich showers […]Dean
was sweating; the sweat poured down his
collar. “There he is! That’s him! Old God! Old
God Shearing! Yes! Yes! Yes!” And Shearing
was conscious of the madman behind him, he
could hear everyone of Dean’s gasps and
imprecations, he could sense it though he
couldn’t see. […] When he was gone Dean
pointed to the empty piano seat. “God’s empty
chair,” he said. […] God was gone; it was the
silence of his departure.”
And later:
“But the slender leader frowned, “Let’s blow
anyway.” Something would come of it yet.
There’s always more, a little further – it never
ends. They sought to find new phrases after
Shearing’s explorations; they tried hard. They
writhed and twisted and blew. […] They found
it, they lost it, they wrestled for it, they found it
again, they laughed, they moaned – and Dean
sweated at the table and told them to go, go,
go. At nine o’clock in the morning everybody –
musicians, girls in slacks, bartenders, and the


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