" ... Then the weekdays would come again and the parties were over and Japhy and I would sweep out the shack, wee dried bums dusting small temples. I still had a little left of my grant from last fall, in traveler's checks, and I took one and went to the supermarket down on the highway and bought flour, oatmeal, sugar, molasses, honey, salt, pepper, onions, rice, dried milk, bread, beans, black-eyed peas, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, coffee, big wood matches for our woodstove and came staggering back up the hill with all that and a half-gallon of red port. Japhy's near little spare foodshelf was suddenly loaded with too much food. "What we gonna do with all this? We'll have to feed all the bhikkus." In due time we had more bhikkus that we could handle: poor drunken Joe Mahoney, a friend of mine from the year before, would come out and sleep for three days and recuperate for another crack at North Beach and The Place. I'd bring him his breakfast in bed. On weekends sometimes there'd be twelve guys in the shack all arguing and yakking and I'd take some yellow corn meal and mix it with chopped onions and salt and water and pour out little johnnycake tablespoons in the hot frying pan (with oil) and provide the whole gang with delicious hots to go with their tea. In the Chinese Book of Changes a year ago I had tossed a couple of pennies to see what the prediction of my fortune was and it had come out, "You will feed others". In fact I was always standing over a hot stove.
— Jack Kerouac, Dharma Bums
There have been times in my life when I would read the Beat classics — Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Snyder, Corso, McClure — in hope of a lightning bolt. There have been times when I found that lightning bolt.
In other phases of my life, I feel distant from that source of inspiration. But I can still grab a chunk of it, a bite, a nibble, not necessarily to change me but to nourish me, to fill me up, to keep me going. I think that'll be the mood I'll be in when I attend a few cool New York City events kicking off this Friday, June 3 and going on till Wednesday, June 8 at new downtown gallery called Howl! Arts. The festival is called Beat & Beyond: A Gathering and it will feature a lot of great writers and happeners: Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, John Giorno, Steve Cannon, Peter Stampfel, the Last Poets, Hettie Jones, Ann Charters, Bob Holman, Margaret Randall, David Amram, Ed Sanders and the Fugs.