Monday, February 21, 2005

Farwell Hunter

"I do not advocate the use of dangerous drugs, wild amounts of alcohol and violence and weirdness -- but they've always worked for me." – Hunter S. Thompson

There are certain writers that immediately come to mind when one considers substance abuse; Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville and Hunter S. Thompson. They are giants and when a giant falls there are aftershocks. Stephen King wrote in his book, “On Writing,” concerning substance abuse, “…put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.” I am truly saddened to hear of this passing. I feel sorry for his family – especially his son, Juan, who was the one who found his father. My prayers and thoughts go out to them.

The unanswerable question of “why?” comes to mind. His end seems so un-Hunterlike. Was it depression exacerbated by years of drug and alcohol use, his perception that the world was going to hell and he wanted to get off, or a release from the pain of his recent back surgery? His death at his own hand leaves the answers to these questions unanswered and lost – perhaps the way his lived his life on the edge of being hopelessly lost from one moment to the next. He coined the term ‘Gonzo Journalism’ and lived out its principals to where ever they would lead. He rode with the Hells Angels, had been shot at in the pursuit of a story (or experience) and was a self proclaimed ‘adrenalin junkie.’ He lived what he wrote. This gave him an uncanny credibility. His skill as a writer allowed him to share his unique view of the world since the nineteen sixties.

He was a 67 year old writer. His feet were made of clay. His name was Hunter S. Thompson and he will be missed.