The guy was so beat, like the beatitudes, like Japhy Ryder and The Dharma Bums of Berkeley, working in the old Southern Pacific rail yards with Dean Moriarty, who was beat in his own Denver way chasing his sad, tragic old man around and through the dive bars down on Larimer Street, beat old cowboys with dungarees hanging from slim hips. I saw him once, man, in a vision under the Chinese lights of old Reno, Virginia Street above the Truckee river, and he was gone, solid gone.
Thousands of young men altered the way in which they carried themselves in the years after 1957. I had already read "The Town and the Ciry" and had accepted him as a sort of successor to Thomas Wolfe. Then came the 60's and the work poured out of him like a fountain. I spent years trying to discipline myself to take notes as I went, like he did, but the best I could achieve was to do my best to store everything in memory. I must not have done to badly, because, before he died, one of my best friends called me "Memory Babe," also. SUCH a fabulous compliment!