[With apologies to Jack Kerouac and other Beat types]
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked apart from some damn fine knitwear.
In the bar I told Dean, ‘Hell, man, I know very well you didn’t come to me only to want to become a knitter, and after all what do I really know about it except that you’ve got to stick to it with the energy of a benny addict, and that circular needles are probably easier on the wrists.’
I left behind a big half-finished shawl, folded back my comfortable home sheets for the last time early one morning, and left. I was on the road again, this time with a big, red cabled sweater to keep me company in planes, rattling trains, and pick-up trucks as I moved from place to place. Somewhere along the line I knew there’d be girls, visions, Estonian lace knitting, everything; somewhere along the line the purl would be handed to me.
I finished Beatnik in Santa Margherita, a little town by the sea way out west. Late at night, I dunked it in the kitchen sink, and hung it on the radiator, as there was no other way a great, thick thing like that was ever going to dry otherwise. The radiator branded a ridge across the neckband where I wedged it in place. I took some awkward selfies on a day too warm to wear it.
I dug the sweater. It's the kind of sweater that, even though you’re on the road alone and far from home with only five Euros and three stitch-markers in your pocket, will wrap itself around you, and make you warm: wool-warm and red-happy.