On the Road, an American Romantic notion. Since Jack Kerouac wrote his novel in the early fifties, driving, being out on the road, is an ingrained part of the American psyche. It's reflected in our culture. Television in the nineteen-fifties brought us Route 66, about two friends roaming up and down the iconic highway that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. Also, the song by Bobby Troup, Get Your Kicks on Route 66, celebrated this same bit of Americana. In the nineteen-sixties, television brought us Then Came Bronson with Michael Parks as a disillusioned journalist (who wasn't disillusioned?) who buys himself a bike and takes to the road. Of course the sixties were the heyday of being on the road as The Easy Rider rode off to 'look for America,' Humbert and Lolita rolled across the country staying in seedy motels, and the rest of us were Hitching a Ride. The nineteen-seventies expanded the scene in novels such as Michener's Caravans, which took on the road global. The list can go on through the eighties, nineties and the oughts.
Maybe it goes back to the frontier west, the wagon trains and the wandering cowboys. Or, maybe its the independence, the anonymity, that is the allure. An article in the New Yorker commented on On the Road and Lolita and how there was a normalness to travelers that would look odd in a normal settings such as a middle-aged Humbert could travel with an adolescent girl and not raise a question that, in any other setting, might.
So. let's celebrate the highway and revel in the romanticism of the idea. I'm working on pieces that draw on these ideas for their inspiration and want to hear your ideas of these native romanticisms. Have a good evening.