Jack Kerouac often wrote about alcohol-fueled escapades in his mostly autobiographical novels. In his numerous travels, the beat author took frequent trips to Mexico, where he gained a fondness for the margarita.
Tequila, one of the main ingredients in a margarita, is made from the agave plant, which is prevalent in Mexico. Although the margarita may not have been the libation Kerouac consumed on a daily basis, his travels make it important in helping to define his personality.
Other drinks consumed by the author in his works also include whiskey, wine, and beer, among others. Drinking a margarita when in Mexico shows the author’s ability and willingness to adapt to local culture and the extent to which he did not care what he was drinking as long as he was getting drunk.
Kerouac’s ability to handle himself after a few drinks was apparent in his manner of speaking to others. John Clellon Holmes described this persona in that his mind loosened up leading to dialogue that was “always brilliant, always interesting, and always disturbing.”
Despite this, there were also occasions where Kerouac would lose control, on one occasion passing out in the woods on the way home from the bar. Kerouac’s drinking habit caught up with him, leading to his death from an internal hemorrhage as a result of cirrhosis at the age of 47.
Kerouac’s long-term abuse of alcohol is tragic in that we may have missed out on works he would have written later in life, but if he did not have these experiences, we might not have had some of the greatest works of that generation.
Welcome back, readers! This week we’d like to introduce you to Grant Mazan, our Assistant Poetry Editor and Assistant Arts and Design Editor. Originally from a town in Kansas just outside of Kansas City, Grant Mazan currently attends Lewis University and is studying Psychology with a minor in Creative Writing, which he hopes to use as a further means of expression. Grant’s other artistic experience includes photography (both digital and film), video production, jewelry making and metalworking, and music and recording/editing songs for himself and his acquaintances. In his free time, he listens to music and reads since he does not own a television or have internet. Stick around if you’d like to learn more about Grant!
Who are you and what is your role in the Jet Fuel Review?
My name is Grant Mazan. I am one of the Poetry Editors and an Assistant Arts and Design Editor. It is my job to go through the poetry and art submissions in more depth than the other editors and make insightful comments about them.
What book might we find on your nightstand right now?
At the moment, I believe I have Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg on my nightstand. It is one of those books where I can open it up and just read a poem or two before going to sleep. I am also currently reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
Throughout centuries, writers have shown a fondness for indulging in the occasional libation or ten. The goal of this weekly blog post is to highlight a particular drink or cocktail that an author preferred, and why the drink is important to his or her life/work.
*Disclaimer* We at the Jet Fuel Review do not promote the use of alcohol. This blog is for educational purposes.
William Faulkner was known to drink while he wrote, claiming, “I usually write at night. I always keep my whiskey within reach.” The author’s preferred cocktail was the mint julep, which has a strong bourbon base. Bourbon, being almost exclusively produced in Kentucky (many argue bourbon can only come from Kentucky), became a popular spirit throughout the Southern United States, which is where the mint julep was created.
Faulkner, being from Mississippi, probably took a liking to the mint julep due to its prevalence. The high alcohol content and the tendency for the drinker to sip it more slowly over a longer period of time than other cocktails may have also made it a refreshing drink for Faulkner to keep nearby when writing. Faulkner’s fondness for the mint julep is apparent in his owning of a cup specifically used for the cocktail, which is traditionally served in a metal cup.
The author drank throughout much of his adult life; in one event, he burned his leg on a radiator after blacking out. After suffering injuries in a horse-riding accident, Faulkner’s drinking increased and he began taking other medication to alleviate the pain. The author died of a heart attack in 1962. Although Faulkner’s drinking had a severe impact on his life and those around him, those libations were likely with him when he wrote his most famous works.