That’s what Hunter S Thompson wanted for an epitaph. It never got fast enough for me. I just finished his autobiography, Kingdom of Fear. He was right – we weren’t fast enough. No could have kept up with that mind. His writing is feverish, breathless, sometimes crazed, occasionally contemplative, always stern and uncompromising on both principle and prose. He was concerned with having Fun. He was concerned with having as much Fun as possible, and that no should ever be allowed to Stop Him.
His suicide note reads: “No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”
His life in unparalleled. Since when has a self-proclaimed dope fiend almost won a county mayorality? Was there ever man who committed so many acts of madness, crime, and drug-induced violence and insanity and not only get away with it, but become a famous author by trademarking his style of record? Thompson was the creator of gonzo journalism, a master of the written word, a twister of truth to serve his own gleeful end.
One episode in Kingdom of Fear describes the night Thompson was puportedly attacked by a mountain lion jumping off a cliff into his convertible. He attacked the animal with a hammer and came away unscathed. On Jack Nicholson’s birthday, he hid behind the actor’s house, fired various weapons into the dark, lit off rockets, and left a bleeding elk heart on the doorstep. LIVE FREE OR DIE he proclaimed. He was the last man standing at the frontline, against the whores of the police state, against the “war on terror,” against the inane stupidity of the Law that invades every privacy we have. “We’re not at war” he said. “We’re having a nervous breakdown.”
And, having never really aspired to be a writer, his medium and his vocation as a journalist – in the loosest sense of the word, as he seems to spend years at a time on various payrolls working on obscure stories that eventually become books of half-fact half-epic-fantasty (it may have all seemed like fact when you snorted that much coke) – anyway, that medium and that vocation were a channel where his madness could funnel into something brilliant and shocking, something as searing as when phosphorous burns, and it leaves the glow on the inside of your eyelids. You can’t look away, you can’t ignore him, he’s still there when you close your eyes. He’s your mother fucking political nightmare, because the people listen to him, and he knows what you really are. He owns thirteen guns and he’s high as a fucking kite. You can run, but you can’t hide.
“Every once in a while, but not often, you can sit down and write a thing that you know is going to stand people’s hair on end for the rest of their lives – a perfect memory of some kind, like a vision, and you can see the words rolling out of your fingers and bouncing around for a while like wild little jewels before they finally roll into place and line up exactly like you wanted them to… wow! Look at that shit! Who wrote that stuff? What? Me? Hot damn! Let us rumble, keep going, and don’t slow down – whatever it is, keeping doing it. Let’s have a little Fun.” – HTS
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