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Lucie Kerouac

29 Jun

 Below, my attempt at Kerouac-style stream of consciousness.  [Otherwise known as frantic scatterbrained late-night typing sans editing.]Jack Kerouac Making a  Face

McAfeeI was at a bookstore in Perth, Australia at the end of last year when my eye caught the Warhol-esque cover of Jack Kerouac’s On the RoadOn the Road, of course is Kerouac’s memoir of his travels across America that has come to define a generation – namely, the postwar 1950s “Beat Generation.”

And the thought first bubbled in my head: Is my adventure kinda like Kerouac’s?  I mean, it too is rebellion of sorts against societal norms that insist upon conformity.  It’s a search for meaning in my life, a longing for something to believe in, a hunt for a compass heading in the life ahead.  And I’m doing it in my own, uniquely American way – you know, equal parts individualism, conquest, and self-discovery.

Right?  It’s the same unabashed pursuit of happiness – a year of capturing memories like fireflies in a jar on a mid-summer night.  But realizing that, even when that’s your only aim in life, you still have to deal with a whole lot of gnats dive-bombing into your eyeballs and skeeters chomping on your exposed (and unexposed) flesh.  Oh, and — as the case may be — disease-riddled ticks.

I picked it up, but I didn’t buy Kerouac’s book – because as much as our journeys are the same, they are different.  Kerouac is not me, his trip is not mine, and his generation is not mine.  Kerouac’s trip was a rejection of the postwar American Dream – a gray flannel suit job, a wife, 3.4 (?) kids, a house, and a picket fence.  He divorced his wife and went on a mad hedonistic rush through sex, drugs, jazz, and alcohol.  “Wild and unrestrained!” boasts the cover.

My trip is not that – a full-scale rejection of society – but a quiet, contemplative pondering of how I fit.  Kerouac’s trip was mindless; his writing only maybe held together by some so-called “stream of consciousness.”  But my wanderlust, while perhaps rooted in the same thirst for a flood of emotion, is an ache – not a mad addiction. Continue reading

Fifty Shades of Horseradish

19 Oct

Leave your genital clamps at home, weirdo.

So far my reading list on the road has been dismal.

In Nepal, I read Michael Crichton’s 1969 (yes, 1969The Andromeda Strain, a science fiction book where the major plot device is that someone doesn’t get a typewriter message.

In Thailand, I read Patricia Cornwell’s first book Postmortem (1990), which turns on a new invention (the computer!) and a new discovery (DNA!).  Revolutionary stuff to read about.

So here in Malaysia, I was stoked when a fellow traveler passed along E.L. James’ much-talked-about and wildly successful Fifty Shades of Grey.  Yes!, I figured, at least this brings me into the decade.

Or so I thought.  It actually single-handedly sets the female species back eighteen decades.

I’m not even going to address the horrible writing or the shiteous sex scenes.

Let’s focus on the toilet-paper-thin plot.  It’s the same as Twilight but worse: a seemingly bright (but actually idiotic) virginious young woman falls into an electric, all-consuming love/lust/infatuation with an impossibly wealthy, incredibly powerful, ridiculously handsome, controlling, possessive, condescending, cruel, stalking, emotionally bereft, quasi-rapist PYSCHO (with, incidentally — shocker!– a giant schlong) who is constantly described as “serious,” “brooding,” and “threatening.”  Their relationship is emotionally abusive (not to mention physical dangerous because, after all, he does beat her). And ultimately our heroine (?) is drawn into a sinister, isolating world (called BDSM!) in which she quickly abandons her entire life and every dream she every had for him — an Adonis-like doucher with the emotional maturity level of a crusty piece of dental floss.

[For the record, the above is a word-for-word recitation of the review of Fifty Shades that I publicly delivered on a local Malaysian bus today when I (un?)ceremoniously delivered the book back to the girl who gave it to me.]

But on some level, I get it.  It speaks to a deep desire within us to be found insanely attractive, to be enigmatically wanted, to be loved completely, inexplicably for who we are – despite our pasty bodies, despite our clumsiness, despite our obvious and utter inadequacy.  We ache for something – and sure, love will do – that gives us reason to get out of bed in the morning (or, in this case, to stay in…), something that gives us purpose, meaning, confidence, a reason to live (or die?!).  PASSION, damn it!


Happy Birthday, Me.

24 Sep

!.! I’m 27 years old .!.  And feeling all the usual birthday emotions (at least the ones I’ve been experiencing in my twenties)… you know, when you feel everything and nothing, all in the same moment.

Me exactly one year ago.

Me now. Where is my life going.?.

I’m halfway around the world in a very strange place.  Not a soul here knows it’s my birthday.  I’m getting old(er).  I have no plans.  I don’t really know what I’m doing here.  And for that matter, I don’t know what I’m doing for the next hour, day, week, month, year, or decade of my life.  I feel everything, and I feel nothing.  But more the nothing part.

I suppose it’s all normal.  I guess if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past 27 years is that we’re all bozos on the bus of the life.  We don’t have it all figured out; we aren’t as perfect as we wish others to perceive us.  We’re all bozos sitting on a bus together pretending not to be bozos.  And thinking there’s something wrong with us because we’re seemingly the only bozo.  The truth is, we all:

  • have bumbling, bad-tempered shadow selves.
  • can be jerks.
  • do unkind things, harbor unmerciful thoughts, and mope around when we shouldn’t.
  • wish we could change things about ourselves.
  • wonder if life has meaning, fret over things we can’t control, and sometimes long for that which we can’t name.

So let’s just peel off the layers, and parade around in our undies.  I’m starting with this blog — where I hope to share the simple dignity of myself as I stumble through this adventure — my triumphs and my failures, my satisfaction and my sorrow.  The home runs I hit, and the times I strike out (looking).  Life is freaking complicated.  Right now it’s all just a giant whirl, and I can’t make heads or tails of it.  I want to laugh, and I want to scream.  But my eyes just well with tears.

I’m just another bozo on the bus :-).

I guess, if you want, feel free to put down your burdens of hiding too, plop on your clown hat, and let’s ride this dang bus together.  In the words of some dude named Wavy Gravy, whose quote inspired this post: “We’re all bozos on the bus, so we might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.”  And hopefully we won’t topple off a cliff.

Coda: I’ll find my wings soon!  In the meantime, my birthday wish for myself: may the coming year bring sweet surprises, and may I be blessed with luck, love, and a whole lot of joy.

Presents for My Daddy

4 Sep

Up late but just finished!

As you know, my Dad is the greatest.  I am going to miss him so much!  And, even though he totally supports the Big Trip, I’m know he’s going to miss me like crazy, too.  Sooooo I wrapped up some little gifts and arranged them on this table for him.

I have two for him to open today and then one for every week until we see each other again (Christmas in Kathmandu, baby) and one for when he’s feeling particularly sad.  They are all little things, some even used (oops), costing little to no money, but hopefully they will make him think of me and bring a smile to his face!

Why I’m Missing in Action

30 Jul

Not that anyone has actually missed me.

But anyway, I have not been posting

because my life is on hold

because I am consumed by the Olympics.

You see, I was the kid who turned the living room into a gymnastics competition arena for the entire duration of the Summer Games (I’m talking opening ceremony to closing ceremony.  Devastatingly, I was not allowed to practice during Trials.)  I also made up cheers, typed them up, printed them out, colored them, passed them out, and demanded that everyone in my family do the cheers in unison… repeatedly.

In any event, unrelatedly, here’s a picture I came across today.  Good memory.  Seems like forever ago (actually: 5 years).

The roof of my dorm at Harvard. I spent some (unauthorized) nights up there, looking down over the Quad.  Then looking up… and literally counting my lucky stars.

Love My Funny Friends

22 Jul

Law school friend just sent me a check for his share of expenses for a little trip… in January.  [Okay, okay, I just billed him two weeks ago.]  Here’s what I get in the mail:

Oh yeah, and here was the trip in question:

Get Ready, World.

11 Jul

I googled it. The noodle says “You know you love it.”

My friend Alex just sent me this picture.  From what I recall, it is me riding a giant macaroni noodle across from Wrigley Field in Chicago.  I have no idea who the people behind me are.