Tag Archives: beatitude

fbp’s “Tomorrow Jams More”

30 Mar
#fbp’s ‘Tomorrow Jams More’ plus #OpenMic and #KatieHenryBand 
#NuyoricanPoetsCafe (236 East 3rd St., New York, NY)
$15 door
See more info here.
#ChrisBarrera vocals guitar songwriting 
Ciro Visconti II lead guitar
Jonathan Toscano bass
#KatieHenry vocals piano songwriting
Misia Vessio drums vocals
Jani Rose and sons poetry guitar vocals
Camille Schmoeker interpretive dance
Lorena Mnemosyne Cabrera belly dance
Rick Villa timbales
Angel Segarra congas
Elena Ridolfi vocals and social-media
Beatrice Pelliccia theatre and social-media
Lama John Heaviside poetry
Dana Steer theatre
Michael Oakes theatre
Elizabeth Botti opera
Stephanie Nikolopoulos reads #Homer in #AncientGreek and her original work
Virdell Williams opera and gospel
#JonathanFritz guitar
#AntarGoodwin bass
#AntoineAlvear keyboards 🎹
Adrian Norpel guitar
Ronnie Norpel comedy, theatre
RÁ #poetry #theatre harmonica tabla vocals

We’ll open with a jam of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” and end with Chris Barrera sing-along jam of The Kinks’ live “Lola”

In between with the original songwriting of Chris Barrera, RÁ Araya’s new concept experimental script musical…. And other special guests yet to be confirmed

Produced by #flashbackpuppy #fbp #ElectricCupidund the one chord wonders

#Loisaida #LowerEastSide #Manhattan #NYC




Hemingway and Kerouac Explain “Lost” and “Beat” Characters

23 Jul



In honor of Ernest Hemingway’s 115th birthday this week, we toasted him with a daiquiri yesterday. Today the celebrations continue with a snippet from Burning Furiously Beautiful that shows the parallel between Hemingway and Jack Kerouac:

“Concerned that the message of his book had been misconstrued, Hemingway wrote to his editor Maxwell Perkins–who edited the work of Kerouac’s favorite author, Thomas Wolfe, thereby influencing Kerouac to approach Scribner with his work–that, though his characters were ‘battered,’ they were not ‘lost.’ Likewise, Kerouac would later clarify that the word ‘beat’ did not simply mean ‘beaten down’ but rather had the spiritual implications of the ‘beatitudes.'”

~ Burning Furiously Beautiful


Want to discover more parallels between the Lost Generation and the Beat Generation? Buy Burning Furiously Beautiful today from Lulu or Amazon.

Are you a starving artist and don’t have the cash money to shell out for the book? Never fear! Here are a few free links on this subject:


Happy 88th Birthday, Allen Ginsberg!

3 Jun

ginsbergAllen Ginsberg at the Miami Bookfair International on November 7, 1985. Photo by MDCarchives via Wikipedia.


Today would’ve been Allen Ginsberg’s eighty-eighth birthday, and in honor of the Jersey-born poet’s powerful and beautiful work we asked people on the Burning Furiously Beautiful facebook page what their favorite Ginsberg poem was. I’ve loved hearing the results! So far we’ve heard:

My favorite is “Sunflower Sutra,” in which Ginsberg writes about Kerouac and him sitting under the shadow of a train as the sun set and spying a dried up sunflower amdist the machinery. The line “when did you forget you were a / flower?” slays me every time.

What’s your favorite poem by Allen Ginsberg? Leave it in the comments below or on the Burning Furiously Beautiful facebook page.

Want to read more about Ginsberg on his birthday?

And if you’ve ever been curious about how Allen Ginsberg met Jack Kerouac in the first place, you can read all about the early origins of the key people who came to represent the Beat Generation but who are all really so much more than that in Burning Furiously Beautiful.


Two Love Stories Inspired by Jack Kerouac

14 Feb

“Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk- real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.” ~Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Happy Valentine’s Day! I just want to take a moment on this sappy holiday to say how thankful I am for each and every one of you who reads my blog, leaves comments, and forwards it to friends. The life of a writer can be quite solitary at times, as we hole ourselves up in a room with our notebook or computer, and I’m so thankful for the community I’ve made through writing, researching, giving readings, and social media. Maybe I’m a big old nerd for spending so much time in front of a computer, but through blogging, I met my coauthor and made friends along the way so that has to count for something!  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to read and support my writing!!

If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day read this weekend, here are two great love stories inspired by On the Road.


Beatitude by Larry Closs


Mañana Means Heaven by Tim Z. Hernandez

Will you be my Valentine?


18 Apr


Brennan Manning was laid to rest yesterday. I was in my early twenties when I read Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel. It had been highly praised, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I don’t recall particularly enjoying it, but I do remember that I was on a plane, perhaps an important detail because I don’t read very well on planes. I rush my reading when I’m on a plane, as if trying to match its V-speed, and Manning’s prose was slow-paced, contemplative, meditative. Despite how I felt about the book at the time, I was enthralled with the title and the central message of the book. This is from the description provided for the book:

Yet God gives us His grace, willingly, no matter what we’ve done. We come to Him as ragamuffins—dirty, bedraggled, and beat-up. And when we sit at His feet, He smiles upon us, the chosen objects of His “furious love.”

The Ragamuffin Gospel contains such provokingly entitled chapters as “Tilted Halos” and “The Victorious Limp,” and suggests Christians aren’t perfect specimens who have risen above other so-called sinners. Those with a holier-than-thou attitude have their halos on too tight. It’s unpopular to admit, but we’ve all experienced brokenness and inflicted pain on others.

Manning too. Manning was an alcoholic. A priest. A prisoner. A hermit. A public speaker. A force of contradictions.

It’s the type of contradictions that Jack Kerouac spoke to in his novels and in his reference of the Beatitudes in describing his generation, the Beat Generation.

It’s the type of contradictions we often don’t like. We like to have people fall into neat little categories of “good” and “evil.” We like to hold people up on pedestals. We like to demonize others. We like our reality stars to be trainwrecks. We like our leaders to be heroes. We like our heroes to be faultless. We like our Christians to be Jesus.

Life is messy. We are messy.

We need to extend more grace, and we need to accept more grace.

Bullies and Beauty and Beatitudes

13 Aug

“Bullied teen gets plastic surgery” ran the headline on Yahoo.  The accompanying photo showed a typical teen girl.  I clicked on the link to hear her story.  What had she looked like before the surgery?

As it turned out, that photo was the before photo.  My heart broke.

No, she didn’t look like a supermodel—but how many fourteen year olds do?  She looked like a cute little girl.  The type who in a few years would come into her own, but for now was just a typical adolescent.  Maybe in a year or two she’d start tweezing her eyebrows and wearing a little mascara, but at the moment she looked age appropriate and the only thing missing was a smile!  Oh, that little girl.  I recognized the sadness in her eyes.

It brought tears to my own eyes, bringing me back to my own awkward adolescent years.  I didn’t look all that different than that girl.  Judging from some old photos I have lying around, I may have looked worse.  I had tiny ears, but I felt like they stuck out.  I had terribly crooked teeth and had a full mouth of braces.  I was growing out a perm that never had curl or wave—only frizz.  I was skinny.  Not an attractive skinny.  The type of skinny that prompted the doctor to tell me to gain weight.  The list of insecurities went on and on.  Just like this little girl, I was picked on.  I spent many nights crying myself to sleep.

I’m not going to lie.  I still feel scarred from those years.  Getting bullied, feeling ugly, feeling trapped, it’s the worst.  But you know what?  It really does get better.  Maybe not right away.  And maybe you never forget those feelings, but you can move on, and those things that hurt you in the past hopefully make you a stronger person and also a nicer, more compassionate person.  You also discover that beauty is complex and strange and wild.

The doctor who did this little girl’s surgery said in the article, “She was picked for her surgery because of her deformities.”  Looking at the photograph, I don’t see any deformities.  The surgeon pinned her ears back and worked on her chin and nose, according to the article.  Maybe there’s something I’m not seeing in the before photo, but as far as I can tell she’s not “perfect” looking (who is??) but she certainly doesn’t have deformities.

I’m happy the girl who had the surgery is pleased with the outcome.  I’m not anti-plastic surgery.  If at an appropriate age someone wants to have plastic surgery that’s their prerogative.  But there’s a lot you can do without resorting to plastic surgery.  I do believe looks matter.  If your hair is messy, your roots are grown out, and you dress in ill-fitting, wrinkled clothes, it looks like you have little confidence in yourself, and chances are you’ll probably be treated according to way you present yourself.  I’m a sucker for makeover shows.  I cry almost every time I watch someone on TV get a makeover.  Because it’s not just about your looks—it’s about how you feel.  There’s so much you can do with just a little makeup and learning to dress to your body shape.  One of my favorites is What Not to Wear because they stress that you don’t have to lose weight to look great.

Supermodel Tyra Banks has talked for years about the fact that she herself has a big forehead.  Last month she even challenged people to a big forehead contest.  Over the years, she’s encouraged women to work what they got, telling them that those parts of their bodies that they may think are ugly may in fact be the very thing that makes them unique and interesting and beautiful.  Maybe there are aspects of your looks that truly aren’t desirable but those “flaws”—or “deformities”—should still be celebrated.

Tyra Banks told US Weekly:

This is who I am! I’m Tyra Banks and I have cellulite! That makes me ‘flawsome’ because I own it as part of what makes me unique. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think my cellulite is beautiful, but I think it’s ‘flawsome.’

My blog caption is “Embracing the Beatific.”  When I was thinking about what my blog is about I knew that, although it’s not exclusively what I blog on, I write a lot about the Beat Generation.  Jack Kerouac said that the word “beat” came from the Beatitudes of the bible.

I realized the Beatitudes expressed my viewpoint.  Life isn’t always what it seems.  The meek will inherit the earth.  The poor in spirit will find a kingdom in heaven. Those who cry now will find happiness later.

Beauty is in the imperfect.


Here are some bullying resources and reading material:::

Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories

the column “Interview with My Bully” on Salon.


It Gets Better

Bible verses on confidence

Workplace Bullying Institute


Abstract Expressionist New York @ MoMA

8 Apr

As I mentioned, I recently went to the MoMA thanks to the generosity of a friend of mine.  One of the reasons I’d been wanting to go was to see the Abstract Expressionist New York exhibit that’s running through April 25.  The writers of the Beat Generation used to hang out in bars with the abstract-expressionist painters, so I’ve been fascinated by how the literature and visual arts of the 1950s have influenced each other and have done some writing on the subject.

I like this line that was posted on one of the placards in the museum:

With a grave intensity and sense of responsibility the Americans who would later become known as the Abstract Expressionists set out to make art that would reassert the highest ideals of humankind.

It reminds me of how Jack Kerouac said that “beat” stemmed from the biblical beatitudes.