There was a time that when I’d think of my mother and my father, I would see a great life divide that illustrated perfectly the divide within my own mind; and one afternoon it greeted me in raw earthly form across the expanse of West Texas, that region which begins for me just a few miles outside of Dallas. It was here that everything met me as an epic confrontation with my own wits, my wisdom, and with the experience I’d gained in dealing with other people, with my own capacity to trust and to love.-
One of his last works published was Big Sur, when he struggles with terrible inner demons and alcoholism in the dark wilds of that region of haunting trees and looming mountaintops, those deep canyons and angry waves crashing against jagged pacific cliffs. These things are all looked upon finally by the full moon, ever watchful.
I remember the moon as it watched me in New Orleans, and later in the desert as I drove onward to LA. I remember the moon well, and I remember seeing such a moon, recently in Big Sur.
Jack’s youth is gone and he is bitter toward the young, the new pilgrims and toward the young Elliot, whose bond with his mother strikes a chord with me. And what about Jack, who goes by Duluoz? What does he think of this mother, with her son? Does he love the mother? Her name is Billie. Does he care for Billie? No he is bitter toward her, and wants only to be alone on the golden coast for the end of it. It’s like he’s found Meggido.
But it turns out he is very much like Elliot. He too wants to be with his own mother, back east in Lowell, to join her in the grieving over their recently deceased cat, and recline beneath eastern stars in a Massachusetts garden.
There is a feeling that you need to keep tame dear Jackie for the art of it, for there is work to do and you gotta keep it tame I say, like a dim candle burning low in the dark. Maybe you’d got enough out of the great ride, yea? Maybe you’d finished early. You wanted your final cry in Big Sur. And then you’d lie back in honor of life’s simple things, of it’s rare moments of majestic tranquility.
You didn’t exactly find it Big Sur? No. But I did. You remember, I was just there.
Nonetheless you offered your final love song to all that has been for you and for us all, to the sounds of an echoing sea.