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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > July/Aug 2019 > EDITOR’S CHOICE The wanderer

EDITOR’S CHOICE The wanderer

Biographer Ian Cutler provides a glimpse into the peripatetic life of itinerant writer, artist, and musician Jim Christy

Jim Christy: A Vagabond Life Ian Cutler Feral House

“[T]HE ONLY PEOPLE FOR ME are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” Those words, which Jack Kerouac famously placed in the mouth of his fictional alter-ego, Sal Paradise, in the classic novel of the Beat Generation, On the Road, might easily provide a manifesto or mission statement for anti-establishment vagabond writers in general and for Americanborn Canadian writer, musician, and sculptor Jim Christy in particular.

Not for nothing does biographer Ian Cutler go out of his way to point out that Christy’s first encounter with Kerouac’s novel – fished out from a mélange of books (at three for a quarter) shelved in a section of a Pennsylvania bookstore marked “SSSEX!” – comprised a kind of revelatory moment for the aspiring vagabond. “In On the Road,” Cutler writes, “Christy at last found his tribe, his family, even if a common feature of that family was to be exiled from mainstream society.”

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