'Just say—"Yes!"'

Yes! a simple three-letter word, but powerful—exciting—full of all kinds of expectant implications! The writer Jack Kerouac, in his classic book that defined the Beat Generation, On the Road, gives this visual image of one of the book's central characters, Dean Moriarty, patterned on Kerouac's real-life, long-time friend, Neal Cassady. Kerouac describes how the word "Yes!" was at the very root of Moriarty's passion for life.

He wrote, "[Dean] now fell silent himself, but standing in front of everybody, ragged and broken and idiotic, right under the lightbulbs, his bony mad face covered with sweat and throbbing veins, saying, 'Yes, yes, yes,' as though tremendous revelations were pouring into him all the time now, and I am convinced they were, and others suspected as me ...."

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November 29, 2004
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