Almost On The Road


The New Yorker has unlocked a selection of Jack Kerouac’s journals that ran in the magazine back in 1998. Beginning with his near-completion of Town and City, and ending days after its publication, the text captures the growing pains of a 25-year-old author:

Got form-rejection card from Macmillan’s. I’m getting more confident and angrier each time something like this happens, because I know “The Town and the City” is a great book in its own awkward way. And I’m going to sell it. I’m ready for any battle there is. Even if I have to go off and starve on the road I won’t give up the notion that I should make a living from this book: I’m convinced that people themselves will like it whenever the wall of publishers and critics and editors is torn down. It is they who are my enemies, not “obscurity” or “poverty.”

Bryan Washington has written for Puerto Del Sol, Ninth Letter, and Midnight Breakfast, among others; he's also the recipient of a Houstonia Fellowship. He lives around New Orleans. More from this author →