What arises and lingers, in the end, is not only Kerouac’s gradual self-realization of his own cracking up, but the greater conflict of the highly sensitive, creative, sometimes manic introvert who yearns for solitude and must then battle loneliness, versus the insatiable thirst for kinship with fellow artists, and above all, recognition. By spring of ’58, he has inserted himself back in the Greenwich Village scene, but his romance with Joyce Johnson falters soon after—the beginning of his infamous downward spiral. Yet Kerouac’s Florida legacy remains strong. The bungalow in Orlando where he spent so many contented working days was left forgotten until the mid-1990s, when Bob Kealing, a reporter and freelance journalist, heard about Kerouac’s rumored stay and got the address from Kerouac’s relatives. A group of locals raised funds to purchase and remodel the property. Today, the quaint bungalow at 1418 Clouser Avenue hosts four writers a year and is known as the Jack Kerouac Writers-in-Residence Project. In 2012, the house was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Kerouac’s typewritten scroll of The Dharma Bums is on display nearby in the Olin Library at Rollins College.
more from Vanessa Blakeslee at Paris Review here.