JT Kitchings was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and proceeded to spend his formative years there. After living in Yellowstone National Park, and a brief duration in his car along the Pacific Coast, he now resides in the drastically different climate of Montana. His story-telling family life serves him well as a bartender at Lone Peak Brewery.
A sample of:
Sole by Jt Kitchings
There’s a funny thing about Jackson in the wintertime. It’s like you’ve wasted away through Technicolor summers and all of a sudden you’re in perfect definition. The skies are saturated blue, too expansive to think about. It’s finally acceptable to go outside in jeans, and God forbid, something heavier than a shirt.
I saw the worst minds of my generation stark raving happy in five thousand dollar armchairs, just going. We all went, pounding against the heat-cracked pavement because we had nothing else to do. Mississippi is a breeding ground for the creative; the culture seeps through the kudzu and climbs into our ears at night. My friends were the products of alcoholics, doctors, lawyers, and southern tycoons. Trying our damnedest to die became our business. No personal demons, or skeletons in our closets, we didn’t even do it on purpose. We wanted out of what we knew because it was all we knew. So that’s where we start, all cylinders going on the first Friday of winter break. There was a show that night, L’Espoir Plantation’s showcase, where the best and the wildest played their souls out before a hungry crowd in an old theater, crafting music with such wild abandon it hurt, but in a glorious and delirious way. Unfortunately, that was in 6 hours, a lifetime for the depraved, and there was nothing planned to fill the time.
We did what we did best: loiter in public areas. It was me, James, William, and Martin on a parking platform in Fondren, burning through the minutes with Marlboro Reds. Waiting is a horrid thing to those who want to go, but we were waiting for a friend, Jacob Ryder, the closest thing to a Dharma Bum I’d ever met. He was Zen, a ghostly collective of philosophy and kindness all hidden behind the beard of Thor. The first time I met him he was sitting on top of a shipping container reading a book about the impending zombie apocalypse. Needless to say, he was well worth the wait. He had been away at the university for a while, and we all wanted to hear his tales and the damnable legends he had experienced. This was the man who dropped acid and ran into the woods one night, and came out a shaman. He was a wild, capering reflection of Kerouac insanity, our idol. Our heroes are the ones who society tries to forget about, the ones who come to parties with more than one girl, the ones who leave behind them stories and quotes. Our hero Jacob had arrived. Strolling out from his Nissan, smoke lingering about him from the pipe clenched between his teeth like the whaler captain he was. Classic cool, unfettered by self doubt or arrogance, just resonates about him. The first words out of his mouth when he sees our motley crew were , “Why the hell are we not drunk yet?” God, Jacob Ryder could take strides to shame any giant.