San Francisco and Ripple Wine, 1968
A homeless teenage hitchhiker crisscrosses America on a 23,000-mile walkabout, fleeing the Vietnam draft, blending in with the 1960s counterculture, and seeking his own mystical serenity.
"How does it feel? To be on your own
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?"
- Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone
(A work in progress)
It was 1966 in Lincoln, Nebraska, where 18-year-old Randy Rhody hosted a party for Allen Ginsberg and the famous beatnik said to him, “My hand doesn’t exist. You're shaking a cloud.” Three years later Doubleday anthologized Rhody’s antiwar poem alongside Ginsberg and a cornucopia of venerated writers in “The Writing on the Wall.”
Along the way he meets Cleveland’s mimeo-revolution publisher d. a. levy, rides overnight freight trains from Denver to Chicago, and helps Emmett Grogan set up the Diggers free store in Haight-Ashbury. He celebrates Easter at the Central Park Be-In, works at a Lower East Side head shop, and warns Abbie Hoffman not to go to the Democratic convention.
An up-close and personal memoir of the Sixties, Rhody’s insider look at the outsiders’ world preserves a glimpse of Americana and the legendary anti-Establishment Sixties not seen through the eyes of journalists, celebrities, or historians.