Side-by-Side [Flash Fiction]

A man speaks about a man who writes in his journal about what he sees as similarities between Kerouac and Thoreau in the matters of diction and voice,  world-view(?) and affinities for the characters they describe, and although he does so, this man speaking of another man,  he does do so without quotes or other samples from their texts as evidence for what he claims–just talking, as he imagines, in his journal, sometimes the text of his journal being just that, how one talks to friends, with friends, casual conversations about literature, only this one being monologic and not dialogic, except in how the individual’s consciousness is dialogic, if not just dialectic, which is what he always stressed as the greatest importance when he was writing essays, the anticipation of criticism and rebuttals, the Self of many selves cannot help but be dialectic in its plurality (he points to Montaigne, he does) . . . and the other claims–which other, who other, this other who or whom–

“What to say about Kerouac and Thoreau is easy enough for anyone who has read them,” the man ready to speak of another man who speaks of Thoreau and Kerouac says the man says;  “especially if the reader is able to discern for himself after having read their texts, any representative texts, that is, if schooled enough, or dedicated enough, or patient enough—and one must read with patience, of course, patience.” And yes, all this about a man not so unlike the men he speaks about in other ways with other words to other persons, real or imagined, depending, of course, and speaking about Kerouac’s and Thoreau’s writing, the man spoken of by this man speaks here about the fore mentioned authors, and so then does the speaking of what he has read in this man’s journal with the entries about Kerouac and Thoreau, and he also has an affinity for these writers, at least one of them, that is, Kerouac, while the other, an affinity he might not say; but as he has noted as of late having come across editions of this writers writing, Thoreau’s, that is, in his prose, something of what the man he speaks about writes in his journal, “the latter, Thoreau, particularly exemplified in his writings In the Maine Woods, and A Week On the Concord and Merrimack Rivers . . .” and what it was that he exemplified in this new found affinity for Thoreau, we do not yet need to know from him, but from the other he speaks about, the one who writes in his journal about these authors herein under discussion, “. . . yes, as I have read his journals, the parts he has allowed to read–I have even asked if he would allow me to phot0-copy pages I found particularly interesting . . .”  

What would be interesting, you might ask, I havemyself asked, he has not come to say yet, only quotes the journal . . .  of course you see in their styles, hear in the diction each chooses, in the voices they speak with [. . .] what else? In their inflections, the true influence on Kerouac’s style–Thoreau  [. . .] no? You disagree? Just listen carefully when you read them, one after another, vitually side-by-side, you coould, paragraph by paragraph . . . . you must see when you look at the page, the words in lines–follow them in their syntax, but especially take notice of the diction and the descriptions–I’m losing it here, but I think you get what I mean, how Thoreau describes the common people in their commonality a human humane of nobility without the trappings of hierarchy or aristocracy. I do not want to say Noble Savage, but there is something similar in the types they both describe and hold up to us with admiration or with understanding, with affection and affinity and Rousseau?  Yes; they do describe some of the same types of people doing many of the same types of things, Kerouac and Thoreau do . . . New Englanders? Yes, “both of them especially in their relationships to simple pleasures, or the great pleasure they take in simple things . . . the descriptions of eating and drinking and communally talking or interacting, the interpersonal and the personal, the public and the private, both of them New England boys . . .” what means this, “the impossible-not-to- have-been-affected-by-that-peculiar-New-England-metaphysics . . .” yes, we might even see and hear in Emerson and Hawthorne and parts of Melville and Dickinson . . .no? The same; similar; parallel; what have we in words . . . you might think otherwise, but then, how could you?  What is it you are reading when you read them?

Read them side by side, or one after the other and pay attention closely to the pace of their sentences, the language they use to describe men at work or nature, the spirituality of nature, Kerouac one of the Transcendentalists, for sure, “and how is it we miss this, I cannot say, for I am now convinced that those who do read literature for purposes of advance study in our academies of learning have abdicated their responsibility as readers?”

Questions do beget questions . . . 

“Kerouac and Thoreau are truly all of a piece, he said,” he said.






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