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BrianHassett.com Turns 10 Years Old

February 18th, 2018 · 2 Comments · Kerouac and The Beats, Merry Pranksters, Real-life Adventure Tales, The Hockey Hippie, Weird Things About Me

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Ten years ago this month BrianHassett.com was launched.

I’ve published at least one new story every month since it was birthed — except once! when I unexpectedly fell in love & went on tour in the same month (June of last year).  🙂 

One thing about writing — you never know what’s gonna connect with people.  Jerry Seinfeld recounted this very subject from his last conversation with George Carlin — how neither of them ever really knew what was going to work until they put it in front of an audience.

Over the decade, a bit to my surprise, the five most popular stories on the site have been, in order —

1.  Some Famous People Who Don’t Have Kids

2.  The Carolyn Cassady Tribute

3.  The Detroit Red Wings Lineup — Stanley Cup Final 2008

4.  Henri Cru — The Legend Turns 70

5.  Woodstock With The Pranksters

The most popular piece just started as a list of a few names created after someone I knew said to childless me something like, “People who don’t have children have no value.”  . . .

Oh yeah?

I’ve periodically returned to it over the years — like when a famous person’s obit mentions they had no kids — and it’s gradually grown to nearly 350 people you mighta heard of from philosophers to rock stars.

It’s now linked all over the internet, and I think it’s the top result if you Google the subject.  There hasn’t been a day glo by in years that a bunch of people haven’t read it.

Funny thing is — it started out as a response to one person’s one comment — and now tens of thousands have read it!  🙂 

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The Carolyn Cassady Tribute caused me to be contacted by the New York Times, the L.A. Times and all sorts of people.  It was the first announcement on the interwebs that she had passed.

Her son John was living with her, thank goodness, when she fell ill on a Sunday night, and by Friday she was gone.  John was sending out daily emails to about a half-dozen family members, of which I was gratefully considered one after spending so much time with both Carolyn and John.  I guesstimated that her kids would be too caught up in what was happening to also be writing a tribute to her.  And I loved that woman — despite us having our differences like any two people who love each other do.  So, during that week, as the news was not improving, I started a tribute to her just in case, and thus was able to post it within an hour or two of receiving John’s final fateful email that Friday.

Levi Asher published it on his LitKicks website, and told me it’s also one of the top five most-read stories on his site.

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The Detroit Red Wings 2008 playoff lineup page — I have no idea what’s behind this post’s popularity.  I mean, they were a GREAT team and all, and it’s a really well done detailed roster by position and everything, but jeez, I dunno why people keep coming to it.  But they do.  I think this story about sneaking on the Penguins’ bus is a much more fun hockey piece.  🙂 

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The Henri Cru story’s popularity also blows my mind.  I mean — how many people know who Henri Cru is?  Well, apparently a lot.  🙂

Henri was a good friend of Jack Kerouac’s, and then became a good friend of mine — another of Jack’s old pals, like Carolyn and Frankie Edie Kerouac Parker, who I came to really love.  As I say in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac describing Jack’s other friends I met at the historic Boulder ’82 On The Road summit — “There was this constant commonality among most of the people in ol’ JK’s life.  Odd ducks.  As a novelist, Jack magnetized to these people as fodder for his fiction.”

I first met Henri through Edie, who had been Henri’s girlfriend until he made the mistake of introducing her to Jack. 🙂

You know that TV show Hoarders?  Well, way before we got to look inside those people’s homes and learn about the disease, there was Henri Cru.  This was probably 1983 or ’84, and Edie and I had become friends, and she told me about Henri and how he was cleaning out his apartment at 116 MacDougal Street up above the Kettle of Fish and the old Gaslight Café.  When I got there to help the first time, I met a guy out front who told me, “When we get upstairs, just remember, we’ve been hauling stuff out of there for three weekends now.”

When we got up to the fourth floor of the walk-up and opened the door, that was about all you could do.  It was literally floor-to-ceiling stuff.  One person (me) would climb up on top of it into a little maybe 18-inch high crawl space along the ceiling (!) and would pass stuff out to a waiting person back in the doorway as we hacked our way down through the glacier.  It was like an archeological dig — including cuz we were looking for treasures, which he did have in there (like an unpublished manuscript by he and Kerouac, and a case of unopened Jack Daniels bottles from about 1963).  I remember digging and digging, until we would uncover the top of a door frame.  “Hey!  I just found another room!”

Henri had recently lost half a leg to diabetes and had to move to a building with an elevator, which, when he first moved in, was as pristine and empty as any new apartment would be.  By the time he died a few years later, it had come to look like MacDougal Street, but with a maze of poles crisscrossing the room like a spider web that he could hang stuff from.

At some point in the journey, Henri was turning 70, and wanted to do sumpthin special, and asked me to write a story about the night for him as a birthday present.  I did this, and somehow it survived all the years since, and there must have been a digi copy that didn’t get lost in all the various crashes and program updates and obsolescence that plagued the early computer years, and back in 2010 I republished it (after it ran in a couple different Kerouac/Beat magazines).

“Feature my surprise” (as Henri would say) — of the 200+ stories on the site, that his birthday night would be the 4th most-read of all-time!

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Woodstock With The Pranksters’ popularity I can more understand with both “Woodstock” and “Pranksters” in the title.  🙂

Plus, I like that it both captures an historic moment with Kesey’s Bus returning to Yasgur’s Farm for the first time since 1969, but also that it set in motion a series of events and friendships whose storylines are still being written.

There’s so many other pieces I woulda thought would have been more popular — the Walter Salles meet story, or the Sky–Bri meet story, or the John Lennon farewell story — but a writer never knows.

Ten years.  Phew!

I realize that visually it’s an old format, but ya’know?  I hate it when websites change.  You learn how one works . . . and then they change it.  Well, my site’s been functioning the same way for 10 years now 🙂 just with a few more categories and a shit-ton more material.  What the heck.

For all those who’ve been here before — I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride!

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Here’s where you can get the current book

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Here’s original Merry Prankster George Walker talking about the creation of the book and our shows together . . .

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Or here’s where you can get the prior book

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by Brian Hassett  —  karmacoupon@gmail.com   —  BrianHassett.com

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna follow things there —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Brian Humniski // Feb 18, 2018 at 10:24 AM

    Congratulations on your ten year run, looking forward to great things to come. Keep the Beat brother.

  • 2 Sarah Cattell // Feb 18, 2018 at 10:13 PM

    10 years! No way. Can’t believe we’ve known you for half of that. You were always writing. It’s nice to read what you were up to.

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