Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Passion for Ferries

January 26, 203
  Woke up to rain on the roof. Went out to the studio and started a fire in the pot-bellied stove and enjoyed the snugness of it all.

Last night I watched the documentary "What Happened to Kerouac" for the second time. This time to take notes. At one point in an interview, which I missed on the first go round, Jack Kerouac said he was influenced by Walt Whitman's "Specimen Days". It sounds so hokey and in fact Steve Allen tried to call him on it, thinking it was a joke, but Jack shook his head seriously. So, I Googled it and here is a section of Walt Whitman's "Specimen Days" and check out the parallels to On The Road:


  Living in Brooklyn or New York city from this time forward, my life, then, and still more the following years, was curiously identified with Fulton ferry, already becoming the greatest of its sort in the world for general importance, volume, variety, rapidity, and picturesqueness. Almost daily,

later, ('50 to '60,) [1850 to 1860] I cross'd on the boats, often up in the pilot-houses where I could get a full sweep, absorbing shows, accompaniments, surroundings. What oceanic currents, eddies, underneath -- the great tides of humanity also, with ever-shifting movements. Indeed, I have always had a passion for ferries; to me they afford inimitable, streaming, never-failing, living poems. The river and bay scenery, all about New York island, any time of a fine day -- the hurrying, splashing sea-tides -- the changing panorama of steamers, all sizes, often a string of big ones outward bound to distant ports -- the myriads of white-sail'd schooners, sloops, skiffs, and the marvelously beautiful yachts -- the majestic sound boats as they rounded the Battery and came along towards 5, afternoon, eastward bound -- the prospect off towards Staten island, or down the Narrows, or the other way up the Hudson -- what refreshment of spirit such sights and experiences gave me years ago (and many a time since.) My old pilot friends, the Balsirs, Johnny Cole, Ira Smith, William White, and my young ferry friend, Tom Gere -- how well I remember them all.

"When you tug on one strand it leads to everything else in the world. It's all connected."
—Old Vaquero Saying