Anubis Walked With A Limp: Jan Kerouac

 Anubis walked with a limp–Jan Kerouac 

Jan Kerouac

Jan Kerouac

We wanted her to be like a figure in a painting by Botticelli [or a China doll]
instead, we got Jackson Pollock [in all his glory].
Gerry gave me her address before I landed in L.A.
I looked for her apartment in Hollywood.
rang the bell and as we talked
spread my writings across her living room floor
The Dodgers won their game in Chavez Ravine that day
it was still sunny
when we went to a Moroccan restaurant on Sunset
overlooking the hotel where John Belushi died
It felt dizzy and not at all glamorous
[She was] like St. Lucy forced into prostitution
And I some unnamed Sicilian jackal
Peddling saline drachmas in a salt-encrusted temple
Of timeless interference
when she died, my vision was restored.

C.M. 3/14/17

From WIKIPEDIA

Janet Michelle “Jan” Kerouac
(February 16, 1952 – June 5, 1996) was an American writer and the only child of beat generation author Jack Kerouac and Joan Haverty Kerouac.

Early life and career

Kerouac was born in Albany, New York. Her mother left her father while pregnant, and Jack refused to acknowledge the baby as his daughter. A blood test when Jan was nine years old proved his paternity and he was ordered to pay $52 a week for her upbringing. Jan met her father only twice, at the blood test in 1961 and again in 1967, when she visited him at his mother’s home in Florida, before traveling to Mexico with her first husband, John Lamb Lash. For the next few decades, she traveled across the country with a fearless curiosity that echoed that of her father and Neal Cassady.[citation needed]

She began to write seriously in the mid 1970s, often seeking guidance through correspondence with her Godfather, Allen Ginsberg.[citation needed]

Jack Kerouac died in 1969 and Jan began a long legal process through the 1970s and 1980s that would eventually give her rights to one-half of the literary revenue from his books sold domestically. Her friendship with Carolyn Cassady bolstered her drive to achieve this; Carolyn once remembering her fondly as a “poor little lost waif.”[this quote needs a citation] Encouraged by Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia, she entered into a lawsuit in the 1990s that proposed the will of Jack’s mother, Gabrielle Kerouac was a forgery, in the hope winning could expand her legal rights to her father’s works and physical property. Eventually a court ruled that the will was indeed a forgery, although in practical terms this ruling changed nothing concerning control of the Kerouac estate[1]

Kerouac published two semi-autobiographical novels, Baby Driver in 1981,[2][3] and Trainsong in 1988. She was working on a third novel, Parrot Fever, at the time of her death.[citation needed]

Personal life

Jan spent her younger years living with her mother, twin sisters and brother on New York City’s Lower East Side. Shortly before the Beatles arrived in the US, she co-formed a girl group, The Whippets, with her friend Bibbe Hansen. Kerouac married and divorced twice. She delivered a stillborn child, Natasha, in 1968.[citation needed] Through the 1970s, she traveled extensively, always eventually returning to the homes of her mother and brother in Washington State. She was a baker and painted abstract watercolors.[citation needed]

Death

On June 5, 1996, Kerouac died in Albuquerque, New Mexico a day after her spleen was removed. She had suffered kidney failure five years earlier and was on dialysis.[4] She was survived by twin half-sisters, Katharine and Sharon, and one half-brother, David Stuart.[citation needed]

Works

  • Baby Driver (1981, novel)
  • Trainsong (1988, novel)
  • Parrot Fever (1992–93, unpublished novel)
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The Last Days of Jan Kerouac: A Mourner’s Tale

A chapbook by Gerald Nicosia

Nobody is better qualified to write Jan’s Kerouac’s story than Gerald Nicosia.
His deep knowledge of her life, his insight and historical depth plus deep compassion make him the ideal witness.” 
— David Meltzer

 

Beat biographer Gerald Nicosia knew Jan Kerouac for at least the last fifteen years of her life and has written an excerpt “The Last Days of Jan Kerouac,” of a larger biography to reprise Jan’s literary career and life as the only biological progeny of her famous father, Jack Kerouac.

Includes Author’s Note–This edition was brought out to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Jan’s death. It is being published in its present form without notes or sources. It is a 53-page chapbook containing his writings so far in a biography entitled, “Kerouac Princess: The Life and Work of Jan Kerouac.”

Jan  Kerouac died in 1996 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, right after she had had an operation removing her spleen.

Despite receiving positive reviews for her two published novels, like her famous father, she did have her detractors.

From a review and interview with her in the New York Times: “I couldn’t get into Jan Kerouac’s books. They were apprentice works. It was obvious she had talent, but she needed somebody to show her the way. It never happened.

“Ernest Hebert is a professor of English at Dartmouth College.”

In addition to working as her literary agent, trying to get her third novel, Parrot Fever, placed with a publisher, Nicosia eventually saw himself as a writing coach for Jan.

“I received rejection after rejection on Jan’s manuscript, and some of them were brutal. Editors not only wondered if Jan knew where she was going in Parrot Fever, some of them also wondered if she even had anything else worth saying after telling her sad tale of being Jack’s daughter. A long process then commenced between us. in which I evolved from Jan ‘s literary agent to her writing coach. I suggested she create an outline, to make sure that the novel did stay on track, and I began suggesting scenes the novel needed in order to have the impact Jan sought. In fact, this coaching would go on till the very end of her life, as she finally circled in toward completion of the manuscript, almost four years later.”

Her fatal problems with her spleen were related to her kidney failure, which occurred in 1991. She had been on daily self-dialysis because of her serious issues with her kidneys’ malfunctioning.

Before moving to Albuquerque, Jan lived briefly in Marin, near author Nicosia, who became a mentor and her champion in her battles with the Kerouac Estate.

A lot of the description here deals with her difficulties in obtaining her lawful share of her father’s estate, which ballooned to over twenty million dollars some fifty years after Jack Kerouac’s death in 1969

Cover of "The Last Days of Jan Kerouac"

Cover of Chapbook

 

Jan was the author of  three novels:

  • Baby Driver (1981)
  • Trainsong (1988)
  • Parrot Fever (1992–93, unpublished)

 

According to Google Books, ‘This book deals with the final few years of Jan Kerouac’s life when she was working on her last novel Parrot Fever and fighting for rights to her father Jack Kerouac’s estate.”

 

This chapbook as a special edition may be available from the author. His email address is [email protected].

Gerald Nicosia will be reading from the manuscript “Kerouac Princess” on March 14th, at 7 pm, Depot Bookstore and Cafe, 87 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, CA.

Addendum: Video of Jan Kerouac talking about her father.

From Wikipedia:

Gerald Nicosia (November 18, 1949 in Berwyn, Illinois) is an author, poet, journalist, interviewer, and literary critic.

Photo of the author with Jan Kerouac

Author Nicosia with Jan Kerouac

He received a B.A. and an M.A. in English and American Literature, with Highest Distinction, in English, from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1971 and 1973, respectively.

He has written book reviews for the past 25 years for many major American newspapers including The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times.

Nicosia is probably best known as a biographer of Jack Kerouac. He has also been an advocate and supporter of the late Jan Kerouac, Jack’s estranged daughter.

In 2001 Nicosia’s Home to War was published. The book covers the problems faced by Vietnam Veterans returning to an ungrateful nation. It also discusses the battle to stop the use of Agent Orange. [1]

In January 2009, Nicosia edited and published the collection Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, containing photos and written essays and remembrances about her.

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