Lonely Victory

As it's now Dec. 19, 1954, the end of this pivotal year is near -- and I am at the lowest beatest ebb of my life, trapped by the police, 'retained in dismal places,' scorned and 'cheated' by my friends (plagiarists), misunderstood by my family, meanwhile mutilating myself (burning hands, benzedrine, smoking, goofballs), also full of alcoholic sorrow and dragged down by the obligations of others, considered a criminal and insane and a sinner and an imbecile, myself self-disappointed & endlessly sad because I'm not doing what I knew should be done a whole year ago when the Buddha's printed words showed me the path….
--Jack Kerouac's journal entry for this day in 1954

In her recently published Kerouac biography, The Voice Is All, Joyce Johnson relies heavily upon the author's journals, manuscripts, and correspondence to track his determined, often chaotic pursuit of his craft. She describes his accomplishment as a writer's "lonely victory." "I'm lost," writes Kerouac in one journal entry, "but my work is found."

 


Daybook is contributed by Steve King, who teaches in the English Department of Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. His literary daybook began as a radio series syndicated nationally in Canada. He can be found online at todayinliterature.com.

 

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.