The 2017 Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Experience

Thanks to everyone that came out to Lowell for the 2017 LCK Festival. We had a good time and hope you did, too. We're going to collect words and images and anything from the folks that attended the event and share them with the world. If you have something you'd like to share, please give us a shout at info@lowellcelebrateskerouac.org. We're happy to give you the right attribution and link back to you, wherever you are.

See you on the road.


From Andrew Fitzmorris:

"Like the geese fleeing south, I too fled south to Lowell, during the month of home – October. This was the season of home for Jack Kerouac and also his demise. I had expectations of what was to happen during this event. Everything seemed to fall into place. The city of Lowell is the last standing old city, protecting its history with words of wisdom by men and women who understood what Kerouac was writing about in connection with the buildings, the sentiment of culture, and the sense of community. I was reminded of community in the Worthen House, where Kerouac would drink. The building is the oldest tavern in the city and still intact. Inside is all wooded old grain rubbing against my skin. I sat at a bar where my writing idol sat, a man who lost his battle with alcohol. This saddened me, but as time went on inside, his sons of Lowell, hard working men, men who preserve language and dialect of the city, men who work all day, gather their cash and bring it to drink their worries and tribulations away, while being treated by the motherly bartender, April, who calls those close to her, ‘hun,’, kept his flame alive, the way Kerouac saw his city.

And each man knows the other, preserving sense of community within the spirited walls of the Worthen. It reminded me of where I am from, Massachusetts, and how community and respect are everything. I am a lost ghost in my city, without name, without meaning, without sense of community among traveling strangers, and without any desire to preserve what is now gone.

This is how my first night at the festival began, with various introductions within the group and outside the group. Every one of them watched over me to make sure I was having fun and felt safe.

And the next few days were educational – I learned so much more about the connection between Jack and Lowell. The people of Lowell to Jack.

Just this past Saturday morning, at the Kerouac Park, paying tribute to John Sampas, a hobo drifted over within the confinement’s of the park, inquiring what was taking place – and one of the members told the hobo – his response – “oh yah, yah, Jack Ker-u-ack, yah, I’ve read all his books when I was young-ah – all but one, that one…” and he snapped his fingers in jazzy nonsensical rhythms trying to remember a book he never knew about because he never read any of Kerouac’s books, but the man wanted out of the rift, and into the raft of literary worlds. The hobo appreciated Kerouac – he knew the impact Kerouac left on the city, and because of this, the hobo even stayed to listen in complete astonishment, the words of David Amaram discuss Mr. Sampas’ impact on Jack and Jack on him.

I saw many things like this, moments in time where even the non-Kerouac readers were paying tribute in their own subtle way.

I listened and learned about Lowell because I understand this will never come around again – these wiser and older men are from a generation that grew around Kerouac, some knowing him personally, and others were long time followers. How could someone pass on such an opportunity?

We all had different reasons for being there this long weekend, and those differences didn’t mean a damn thing because we all loved Jack, and that united us.

And so, me being there for the first time, the writer, who fell down from reality to this southern dream, and who fell during October with the change of season. I fall with the approaching November ashy amber ridden sky, searching for my geese, which is the written word flying off the page, always looking, waiting, and writing for it, because I have fallen, literally, in love again with words thanks to all the people in Lowell, the members of the LCK, the followers like myself, and Jack, who silently and privately brought his prose to my soul, capturing the very essence of life as I see it. And one day I will fly back in the direction I am needed, when my compass of right comes to light, while my eyes lean east, west, south, north, waiting by the wind, knowing Lowell’s angel is smiling down on me."

—Andrew Fitzmorris (7 October 2017)

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