A FaceBook friend of mine, we’ll call him Doug to protect the innocent, recently posted a map of Jack Kerouac’s journey “On The Road” back in the 50’s. It brought back memories of trying to find some resonance with the work when I read it, and I remember that I finally gave up. I don’t remember being too impressed. I probably had indigestion or something. He just sounded lost and aimless to me. There’s no question that he made an impact on thousands in or proximate to his generation. I was otherwise focused, at the time.

Steinbeck’s TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE in 1962 and Least Heat Moon’s BLUE HIGHWAYS in 1978, which could have drawn on Kerouac’s work as well as many others, meant more to me in my more or less laced up mindset by and by. Perhaps I should give Kerouac another chance. I don’t feel the laces are as snug as they once were.

I’ve always thought I’d write about some trip or “journey” of some kind myself. I have said so at various times and invariably someone pipes up and says the same thing. The thing is, every man’s – whoops! – I should say person’s journey is different, if not actually unique, and deserves a telling. Ah, but it’s the telling that’s the issue, isn’t it? That telling that holds together as story and, of course, self revelation. I suspect many of us do not tell our stories for fear of just that.

Now, as I think about journeys so wonderfully chronicled by pilgrims, adventurers, seekers and story tellers, I wonder what it is that draws us into that dream world of creativity. It has to be, in my humble opinion, that we all have a story to tell. Whether it is an actual journey, or time spent in service, or memorably interesting job or even a failed relationship. Our lives are nothing if not full of story.

I can remember times as a child sitting on the floor against the wall as my father’s brothers and sisters, all 12 of them, would begin sharing and laughing at each others stories for hours. If I only had a little digital recorder in my pocket then – back in the 40’s – what a trove of source material I would have. I have to smile as I do this, thinking how memory is sometimes better when creatively re-constructed. Very un-technical, but more fun, and at times more accurate.

Anyway, Mr. Kerouac set an entire generation to wander-lusting and I am sure many have chronicled their journeys somehow. Are you one of those? We wait to see. The road beckons.

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