Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wild-haired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running— that’s the way to live. All alone and free in the soft sands of the beach by the sigh of the sea out there, with the Ma-Wink fallopian virgin warm stars reflecting on the outer channel fluid belly waters. And if your cans are redhot and you can’t hold them in your hands, just use good old railroad gloves, that’s all.
Capote’s increasing success occurred during a period in which Kerouac and Burroughs experienced frustration in following their own respective debut novels, The Town and the City (1950) and Junkie (1953). Hence it is understandable that, as his fame grew, Capote became a figure of intermittent ridicule for the struggling writers.
I wanted to meet what there was here to meet. But they seem to have scented my being different and excluded me, just all squares instinctively do. And these people, Bowles, Tennessee Williams, Capote, are just as square as the St. Louis Country Club set I was raised with, and they sensed I was different and never accepted me as one of them.
— William Burroughs to Jack Kerouac, 1949
Jack Kerouac’s On the Road Scroll
In April 1951, Kerouac taped together eight twenty-foot strips of teletype paper to form a single scroll some 127ft long (now 120ft). Feeding it into a portable typewriter, he began composing the work that was to become the bible of the post-war Beat Generation. Kerouac completed the novel in twenty days of rapid, continuous typing, fuelled chiefly by caffeine. The scroll’s exact length is 119 feet, 8 inches. The very end of the scroll is a ragged edge, and the final section of text is missing. In Kerouac’s handwriting near the edge is written, “DOG ATE (Potchky― a dog).” Potchky was Kerouac’s friend Lucien Carr’s cocker spaniel.