Back in the 1950’s, after WW2, most people headed home to raise families.
Men were tired of shooting bullets and women were tired of making them. Instead of killing humanity the focus became re-populating humanity. An era of big bands was coming to a halt and an age of rock and roll, beat poetry, and abstract expressionist art was coming into its own. Jazz, an American art form, was in ascendance and its emphasis on rhythm, dissonance and drugs were a premonition of things to come.
Jack Kerouac, one of the beat generation’s shining stars, made a trip down to Mazatlan in the 50’s in an old bus, camped, and immortalized this place as one stop in his epic rollicking novel “On the Road.”
On a wall, by The Shrimp Bucket, is a plaque placed by the Mazatlan Historical Society to commemorate the exact point in place and time where the bard stopped roaming, drank beer, hung out with the locals, and dreamed of the proletariat overcoming. He looked for pleasure and put his stories down in long winding sentences where he only stopped writing to take a breath. His novel was new for its day but old in concept. He was the hero of his own epic Homeric poem. He was a tumbleweed travelling to new ports with his only home the inside of his bus or a bedroll spread out in some flophouse. His friends were fragile poets traumatized by war, big business, and moral restrictions.
Sitting in The Shrimp Bucket, you can look at a little hill that must have made Jack nostalgic for San Francisco. Even if you can’t agree with Kerouac’s self destroying lifestyle, you can understand why he was here, by the water, drinking beer with limes, almost naked bodies dancing in the surf and fishermen spinning stories of great marlin battles.
Kerouac would have turned sentimental at the marlin story telling but Hemingway, if here, would have relished each twist of the hooks.
Kerouac was beautiful in his willingness to edit nothing
.Hemingway was beautiful in his willingness to cut everything to its heart.
They are both masters of prose storytelling.
I would have loved to be drinking at the next table to them, at the Shrimp Bucket on any starry Mexican night,, listening to them talk poetry.