How do I describe Beat?
Let’s look at some adjectives sprung from obsession.
It is IMPRESSIONISTIC.
You read Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums and you are crossing deserts with Ray, down the road of no world-strings, beneath the widest sky you have ever seen. You are sleeping amidst shrubbery and waking fresh from beautiful sleeps, and hiking up a ragged mountain, with each conquering stride up the impossible rocks, conquering a part of the cobwebbed niche of your soul, in which you have been wandering around all the world, in theory.
Wandering with Ray is higher.
It is WITHOUT LAYERS.
With impressionistic, comes the word true. It is without layers and yet, most deep. No extravagant descriptions. Only true observations and its train of thought.
It is one human being and the trials and tribulations of that one human being; so intimate, that it can be you. They are like heartfelt journals. There is no additional exertion in making the prose happen. It is in letting it take its course.
Somewhere, I had discovered a simple-looking philosophy – when you stop trying to define it, it defines itself.
Beat is the proof of such.
It is RAW.
It shows the truest essence of the people and the places.
When I was far too deep into The Dharma Bums, fascinated by and in love with the character of Japhy Ryder, I kept trying to draw up images of him, the perfect embodiment of his physical form. Then, I read that he was based on Allen Ginsberg. Looking at the very first photograph of a young Ginsberg, I was far too excited and screamed in my head – Look! It’s him! It’s Japhy!
Japhy shone through him. It was in his glistening, all-knowing eyes, his haughty expression and his diminutive stature. Japhy shone through him even in his old photographs, through the hair and voluminous beard.
That is the power of Kerouac’s writing and the quintessence of the Beats.
It is FREEDOM.
You can be happy, angry, weary, sad, jealous, blue, or in the mood. You can be lyrical about all of them. Fearlessly. To the core.
The Beats are a platform for everyone. Think about the friends Ray made along the road. Everyone is welcome. Everyone is welcome to sing, cry, laugh, dance, be mad and live.
Be spontaneous and do not have your pen be a sieve to your ideas, and you are a Beat.
It is HIGH.
Higher than life. Higher than existence. Higher than the different customs that make for the difference in religions. Everything arises from man’s desire to seek truth, but makes tributaries out of man’s fears.
Through Kerouac, Beat bridges truth and religion. It contains the sense of divinity.
To think that such a revolutionary movement existed so close to our present breeds hope for our literary future. To me, the Beats are prophets. They have changed the way I perceive and the way I write. They make me want to emerge from my mind and touch the world with my hands, so that I can derive the vital truth of a feeling.
They make me want to experience.
Their desires were universal – to break from “the wheel of the quivering meat conception”.
But it is the Beat in them, the Beat that they expressed, that made them Pied Pipers to my somnolent Hamelin.