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June 29, 2006

Generosity of Spirit

Good afternoon.  I’ve been working on The Gonzo Way Manuscript.  And yes, I got a little distracted yesterday by the lawsuit that was filed by a former employee against the estate.  Thank you for all your emails. Hunter would appreciate the support. 

Yesterday a friend of the plaintiff called me to say that her lawyers filed the suit without her knowledge or permission.  If that’s true, everything will be over soon. No Worries…soon the Estate can get back to the business of Hunter’s LEGACY. 

Hunter knew human nature and had a keen eye for the future, and that’s why he put Doug Brinkley, George Tobia, and Hal Haddon in charge.

I’ll keep you posted.


So, just to keep the record loud and clear, Hunter was famous for his Generosity. Yes, he could be bitchy and cruel at times, but he was generous with his spirit, his time and his money.  He wasn’t necessarily rich financially, but he was rich in every other way:


This is an excerpt from Kingdom of Fear introduction by Timothy Ferris, a long time friend and fellow writer.


…this howling violence freak, habitually loaded with potent intoxicants and a skull full of Beethoven-grade egomania, is studious and thoughtful, courtly and caring, curiously peace loving in his way, and unwaveringly generous.  When he and I were young and broke, and I was fired from the last job I’d ever held, the first thing he did was offer to send me four hundred dollars – which, although he didn’t know I knew it, was all the money he had left in the bank at the time.  His fundamental decency helps explain how he has managed to survive his many excesses…


Hunter maintained this generosity of spirit for the rest of his life.  I was often awestruck by Hunter’s benevolence toward his friends and staff with money, housing, food, cars advice, liquor, and especially entrée into his fabulous world.  


Until tomorrow, your friend,

Anita Thompson

June 27, 2006

Heaven and Hell

Hi guys.

As promised, here is some wisdom from Generation of Swine. 
Last Saturday, I was invited by the Aspen Writer’s Foundation to read some of Hunter’s work at a writing seminar gathering. I read from the introduction, where Hunter describes what Heaven and Hell would be like.  He said that all we know for sure is that Hell “will be a viciously overcrowded version of Phoenix – a clean well-lighted place full of sunshine and bromides and fast cars where almost everybody seems vaguely happy, except for the ones who know in their hearts what is missing…”  and being driven crazy because the one thing you want is not there.  
Here is what he said about Heaven: 
Heaven is a bit harder to figure, and there are some things that not even a smart boy can tell you for sure…But I can guess.  Or wonder.  Or maybe just think like a gambler or a fool or some kind of atavistic rock & roll lunatic and make it about 8-1 that Heaven will be a place where the swine will be sorted out at the gate and sent off like rats with huge welts and lumps and puncture wounds all over their bodies – Down the long black chute where ugliness rolls over you every 10 or 16 minutes likes waves of boiling asphalt and poison scum, followed by sergeants and lawyers and crooked cops waving rule books; And where nobody laughs and everybody lies and the days drag by like dead animals and the nights are full of whores and junkies clawing at your windows and tax men jamming writs under your door and the screams of the doomed coming up through the air shaft along with white cockroaches and red stringworms full of AIDS and bursts of foul gas with no sunrise and the morning streets full of preachers begging for money and fondling themselves with gangs of fat young boys trailing after them…  Ah…But we were talking about Heaven…or trying to…but somehow we got back into Hell.
–Hunter S. Thompson, Generation of Swine

Your friend,
Anita Thompson

(copyright Estate of Hunter S. Thompson)

June 26, 2006

Fatique Hysteria

Good morning! 

It’s 4:30 am and still dark here at Owl Farm.  Hopefully I’ll be sleeping by the time you read this.  I’ve been up for what seems like 33 hours working on the Gonzo Way (can’t do the link right now) This is what Hunter called “Fatigue Hysteria.” 

The burgundy carpet is covered with piles of papers, my notebooks from the past 6 years, stacks of your letters and emails, Hunter’s letters to me, all of his books, Joseph Conrad, Ralph Steadman letters and advice, Bob Dylan, Various Interview transcripts, photos and lots of music CDs  (including Eminem and David Amram), an orange blanket for my dog and two pillows for the cats. Some of it is  for the Manuscript, some I use for “inspiration” and some for “procrastination.”


This is a short book, but because I am not an experienced writer, it seems to take me 7 times longer and 7 times more paper than it should.  At times I feel the fear… of failure.  But, as if on cue, I came across one of the letters that Hunter wrote to me:


“…Indeed, so I am Lono, as always, and I will always be with you.  Always.  Never doubt it, never be afraid of anything, no matter how weird it might seem to be, at the time. We are far beyond seems, and we have no Fear…Only moments of Confusion, now & then.”


So, I will take that wisdom to bed with me, and keep plugging away when I wake up.  I know that so many of you who read this blog are writers…  My hat goes off to you.  I haven’t felt this deadline rush since I worked with Hunter.   


The wisdom tomorrow will be from Generation of Swine. 


Your Friend,

Anita Thompson

Owl Farm

June 23, 2006

Tom Wolfe and The Gonzo Way

Hope you’re having a good Friday. It’s beautiful here at Owl Farm – 75 degrees and breezy.
Tom Wolfe and I had a great talk yesterday. I interviewed him for The Gonzo Way. He is sharp and witty as ever. He compared Hunter to Mark Twain and talked about their history that goes back to La Honda and Ken Kesey. For today’s wisdom, I decided to pull a bit out of a letter that Hunter wrote to Mr. Wolfe on April 21, 1968. Hunter loved Tom Wolfe’s sociological term “behavioral sink,” and offered up his own word jewel: “atavistic endeavor.” Both men are word masters (along with Mark Twain of course) so enjoy:

“The term itself is a flat-out winner, no question about it. Every now and then I stumble on a word-jewel; they have a special dimension, like penetrating oil. Right? “Behavioral Sink” is up in that league with my all-time, oft used champ, the “Atavistic Endeavor.” I picked that up in a Ketchum, Idaho bar about five years ago and I suspect it’s appeared in every article since then.
–Hunter S. Thompson. April 21, 1968

Your friend,
Anita Thompson
Owl Farm

June 21, 2006

Mud in the Catskills

Jesus Christ, I don’t know what happened to the day.  Sorry!


In 1959, Hunter lived in the Catskills.  He was broke, lonely, hungry and cold. But he sure did some fine writing.  You can read all about it in the Proud Highway.

Here is an excerpt from one of the many stories he wrote while living there. The story has not been published.  Hunter forgot about many of these stories until Doug Brinkley discovered them while in the basement with Hunter working on The Proud Highway in the 90’s

  Several years later, in 2003, Hunter and I compiled all those stories and more into a manuscript. I’m sad that we didn’t actually have a title for that short story book when Hunter died, but I think the title will jump out when the time is right.

 The Estate is always working on multiple projects and I hope the short story manuscript will be at the top of our list soon.  I’ll of course keep you posted.


I’d been living there for about a year when the basement began to cave in.  The combined pressure of spring rains and melting snow was too much for the rock-dirt walls, and they crumbled like rotten river banks in a flood; collapsing, slowly but surely, into a mud bog that grew an inch or two deeper with each passing day.  The landlord, too lazy and too blind to make the repairs himself, declined to take action for almost three weeks.  It was only when the mud began to bury the hot-water heater that the indolent old bastard agreed to do something about it.

–Hunter S. Thompson, “The Almost Working Artist” (unpublished short story)


I’m told to mention that all of Hunter’s writing is property of the Estate of Hunter S. Thompson.  (needless to say, we are dedicated to making more of Hunter’s life and work available to you)


Until tomorrow, your friend,

Anita Thompson



Gonzo Teachers

Good morning!  I’m starting my day early.  The sprinklers spooked the peacocks who woke me up with screeches. All 6 are back and looking good by the way.  

I’ll be logging on shortly to give you your daily dose of Gonzo Wisdom. Expect it in about an hour. 

I’ve been meaning to ask all of you to email the names and schools of any teacher and or professor that has taught Hunter’s work in their class room.  I recently started an outreach program at Owl Farm and need your help. 

See you in about an hour!  Anita Thompson

June 20, 2006


Don’t ask me why the page layout is such. Let’s proceed as planned. 

The wisdom for today is something Hunter wrote in a letter in 1968 re: the book he was supposed to be working on about the death of  the "American Dream."  In Hunter’s letters discussing this manuscript are, in my opinion,  some of his best thinking and writing ever.  I have this bit with me here at the library.  It’s from a letter he wrote in 1968 about working on a story about Oil Shale mining in Colorado that he wanted to incorporate.

It’s going to take a vast amount of travel and brain twisting;  I have no idea what I’m going to write, but if nothing else I expect to learn a lot, and that’s the only part of writing I enjoy. The actual work  — the typewriter horrors – I approach with fear and loathing.

      Hunter S. Thompson, in a letter, 1968


Until tomorrow, your friend,

Anita Thompson  




Working It Out

Yes, I just got to the library, and I’m working out this problem with the blog right now. Stop emailing me about the page layout problem.  Wisdom is coming shortly.  thanks, Anita

June 19, 2006

Monday Morning Attitude


Good morning.  I have a treat for you today.  It should go under the category of ATTITUDE.  


The Menace is loose again, the Hell’s Angels, the hundred-carat headline, running fast and loud on the early morning freeway, low in the saddle, nobody smiles, jamming crazy through traffic and ninety miles an hour down the center stripe, missing by inches…like Genghis Khan on an iron horse, a monster steed with a fiery anus, flat out through the eye of a beer can and up your daughter’s leg with no quarter asked and none given; show the squares some class, give em a whiff of those kicks they’ll never know…

— Hunter S. Thompson, Hell’s Angels 


That is from the first page of the first book Hunter ever published.  He was twenty-nine years old when he wrote it, and thought that if he didn’t publish a book by the time he turned thirty, he would have to call it quits and become a barber. 

Hunter had been riding with and studying the Hell’s Angels for a year. He spent six months writing the first half of the book, which is the scholarly and methodical half of the social and political phenomenon of the Hell’s Angels. One day, he looked at the calendar, and it occurred to him that he had four days to complete the entire second half of the manuscript!  So, instead of panicking, he rented a hotel room on the outskirts of San Francisco, loaded up with a supply of dexadrine and Wild Turkey, and finished the book.   Many people agree that that second half is by far the best– the part that kicked off his career.

Don’t be one of the people who get fooled into thinking that it was the drugs and alcohol that produced the wild gonzo attitude in the second half of Hunter’s Hell’s Angels.  Here is the secret: It was the previous 15 years he had spent studying the art and craft of writing. Remember that Hunter had read the classics by the time he was 18.  He skipped school to, yes, drink and smoke, but while he was drinking and smoking and cutting classes, he was reading Plato’s Allegory of the Cave Joseph Conrad, and the Louisville Courier Journal cover to cover.  He would spend the rest of the evening WRITING.  It didn’t matter to him if he was writing an article or a love letter to a beautiful girl.  The most important thing for him was to learn the craft – from the masters. And if he didn’t have a letter or a story to write, he would copy pages out of Fitzgerald or Hemingway to “feel the rhythm” of their writing.  This kind of discipline turned into a habit. 

That is why he could stay up for four days and four nights and produce one of the best books on American sociology in recent history.  Hunter explained to me one night that it was his “muscle memory” of having those many years of practice that enabled him to pull it off. 


Until Tomorrow, your friend,

Anita Thompson




June 16, 2006

Pimps or Whores

I have nothing positive to say today.  The weather sucks and it has cast a grim shadow on all of Owl Farm.  Here is some dark wisdom from Hey Rube.  Hunter wrote so often about the Collapse of the American empire in the final year of the American century:


The Roman Empire lasted more or less 900 years – which is 888 years longer than Adolf Hitler’s “Thousand-Year Reich.”  They both imploded because of the internal corruption and a pampered, decadent citizenry.   They were weak because they no longer used the muscles of their brains. After 500 years, they were all either pimps or whores.
            But so what?  If you have lemons, make lemonade. That is ancient Hawaiian Wisdom.
–Hunter S. Thompson, Hey Rube



Until Tomorrow,

Anita Thompson

June 15, 2006



Hello there.  Sorry I neglected you yesterday.  It was an arduous day and the power went out briefly for no apparent reason.  Today’s wisdom comes from Songs of The Doomed from a piece titled Electricity.   Hunter studied electricity starting in the mid ’50s at Scott Air Force Base. He was being trained in an all-night advanced intelligence electronics class that made electricity something he loved and respected for the rest of his life.  The first thing he learned was the stance.  The Air Force made the students practice it every day so that it would come naturally if they were confronted with a bolt of voltage.  Hunter said that it must be practiced if you work with electricity, just as holding your breath must you work underwater:


                        Lock one hand behind your back before you touch anything full of dissatisfied voltage—even a failed light bulb—because you will almost certainly die soon if you don’t.
            Electricity is neutral. It doesn’t want to kill you, but it will if you give it a chance. Electricity wants to go home and to find a quick way to get there—and it will.


Hunter studied electricity like any young boy studies a superhero.  You see it in his writing spanning all the decades of his work.  I still have the card on the TV that says “ANIMALS, WHORES AND DIALOGUE…”  Those were the things he would write about to get himself out of a writer’s block…  In the winter of 2002, he added “ELECTRICITY” to the list.


Your friend,

Anita Thompson




June 13, 2006

Thompson, McGovern and Chief Sitting Bull

Hi There. Many of you seemed to like the wisdom from Campaign Trail yesterday. I have some more for you today… which, might not be extremely uplifting, apart from its reminds us that every once in a while there are amazing people who make the world a better place. Hunter wrote the following (after quoting Chief Sitting Bull) about one of his favorite human beings under the sun, George McGovern, in Sept 1972. The election was two (2) months away and a horrible realization was setting in, but as always, Hunter kept his eloquence and keen sense of justice.
Hunter loved to point out the fact that, as he was writing it, in the vortex of the presidential campaign, in Colorado, his future wife was being born…
Hear me, people: We have now to deal with another race – small and feeble when our fathers first met them, but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule.
–Chief Sitting Bull, speaking at the Powder River Conference in 1877
If George McGovern had a speech writer half as eloquent as Sitting Bull, he would be home free today – instead of twenty-two points behind and racing around the country with both feet in his mouth The Powder River Conference ended ninety-five years ago, but the old Chief’s baleful analysis of the White Man’s rape of the American continent was just as accurate then as it would be today if he came back from the dead and said it for the microphones on prime-time TV. The ugly fallout from the American Dream has been coming down on us at a pretty consistent rate since Sitting Bull’s time — and the only real difference now, with Election Day ’72 only a few weeks away, is that we seem to be on the verge of ratifying the fallout and forgetting the Dream itself.

So now, 33 years after Hunter wrote that passage, and 129 years after Sitting Bull made his harrowing statement, they are somehow together, watching over us.
Okay, more tomorrow.
Anita Thompson

June 12, 2006

The Jackrabbit

Hi.  Hope you’re having a good Monday. I’m back at the Pitkin County Library, where it’s quiet and there are no ringing phones.   Last Friday, a friend referred to Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, which made me want to re-read it again.  Here is something Hunter wrote in the intro about how he covered that presidential campaign, and hence, created the book.  And if you have the slightest bit of gonzo in your blood, you will no doubt relate to this following passage:


“There is a comfortable kind of consistency in this kind of finish, because that’s the way all the rest of the book was written.  From December ’71 to January ’73 – in airport bars, all-night coffee shops and dreary hotel rooms all over the country – there is hardly a paragraph in this jangled saga that wasn’t produced in last-minute frenzy.  There was never enough time.  Every deadline was a crisis.  All around me were experienced professional journalists meeting deadlines far more frequent than mine, but I was never able to learn from their example.  Reporters like Bill Greider from the Washington Post and Jim Naughton of the New York Times, for instance, had to file long, detailed and relatively complex stories every day – while my own deadline fell every two weeks – but neither one of them ever seemed in a hurry about getting their work done, and from time to time they would try to console me about the terrible pressure I always seemed to be laboring under.

            Any $100-an-hour psychiatrist could probably explain this problem to me, in thirteen or fourteen sessions, but I don’t have time for that.  No doubt it has something to do with a deep-seated personality defect, or maybe a kink in whatever blood vessel leads into the pineal gland…  On the other hand, it might easily be something as simple and basically perverse as whatever instinct it is that causes a jackrabbit to wait until the last possible second to dart across the road in front of a speeding car.”


So that’s the wisdom for today, for all you adrenaline junkies.  More from Campaign Trail tomorrow.

Anita Thompson

June 08, 2006

Hold Me Tight Carmelita


I don’t have much to say today except that it’s been a very long day. I’ve been at the Library working on The Gonzo Way manuscript, which I’m very happy about. It was storming constantly, and dramatic and beautiful to hear the pouring rain on the skylights of the vaulted ceilings of the Aspen Pitkin County Library, where I’ve become almost a full-time resident since I started the Wisdom Manuscript nine months ago.
Anyway, before I close down for the night, I want to leave you with a bit of wisdom from the liner notes from “Where Were You When the Fun Stopped,” an album of some of Hunter’s favorite songs.

“Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel.
I have always needed fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio. A new high-end Cadillac will go ten or fifteen miles faster if you give it a full dose of Carmelita…”

Sweet dreams everybody, and I’ll check in when I get back from a little road trip tomorrow. As always, I’ll be listening to “Carmelita,” as it was our song…and…it still is our song.

Your friend in Woody Creek,
Anita Thompson

June 06, 2006

Other People’s Dreams

The wisdom for today is something that Hunter wrote at Age 21 when he was starting to discover his own voice in writing, and also his own characteristics that would stick with him throughout his entire life.

“Everybody is looking for someone who can stand up in the wind. It is lonely standing up and crowded lying down. I refuse to be an anchor for other people’s dreams—but then I refuse to anchor mine to anyone else. “
— Hunter S. Thompson In a letter to a friend at age 21

Anita Thompson

June 04, 2006

He Who Goes to Law Takes a Wolf by the Ears

My internet has been down all weekend. But I am finally able to take a break and come to the Woody Creek Store to post the wisdom for today and give you the update on the party I had at Owl Farm yesterday to celebrate Hunter’s relationship with NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and other Criminal Defense Lawyers.

It was a great day. NORML had been hosting their legal conference; they were kind enough to let me attend the lectures even though I am not a lawyer.

It was actually a mutual admiration celebration. There were about 50 lawyers and 50 civilians. We had great live music, including Jimmy Ibbotson (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) and Rick Rock (local musician) and good food and drink and other various goodies. Hunter’s son Juan showed up, which was nice. Steve Cohen of L.A. (who built the gonzo memorial) was also a guest.

Hunter agreed with Bob Dylan that “to live outside the law, you must be honest,” and it doesn’t hurt to have a good criminal defense attorney or two on your side at all times. Hunter did indeed have the best lawyers money and long years of friendship can buy. Hal Haddon (the magic counselor introduced in my first blog entry) and many other famous and brilliant lawyers graced Owl Farm, which of course made the rest of us feel like champions. Hunter’s presence was there, as always, shining bright and powerful as ever.

Hunter received a posthumous award from Keith Stroup, the head of NORML, which he presented at a party hosted by Chris Goldstein the night before. I hung the plaque up in the kitchen. It reads:

The Board of Directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) hereby awards this special NORML Board of Directors award posthumously to Hunter S. Thompson for his more than three decades of service on the NORML Advisory Board, his lifelong public advocacy for decriminalizing drug users, and his willingness to challenge state and federal drug policies, regardless of the consequences.
Hunter S. Thompson was a brilliant writer and journalist, and an inspiration to all who care about ending the drug war and stopping the senseless arrest of marijuana smokers in America.

It really is a beautiful award, for all of us.

Here is today’s wisdom:


“I am not a criminal defense lawyer, but I have what they call ‘a very strong background’ in the criminal justice system, and much of that background is based on extremely personal experience. I have taken that wolf by the ears many times, and I have learned many powerful lessons along the way. It is not the most desirable and certainly not the most efficient means of gaining an education in law. I would not recommend it for my son, for instance, or for anyone else’s children. There is no prestige in it, and sure as hell no money. It is like getting an education in electricity by wandering around in a lightning storm with a long steel rod in your hands.”

–Hunter S. Thompson

That is from a story about the first time he took the wolf by the ears at age nine, when Federal Agents came to his house for tipping over a huge mailbox in the path of a speeding bus. Instead of giving in to their intimidation, he had a question of his own “What Witnesses?” He never saw those FBI agents again! (KINGDOM OF FEAR)

Until tomorrow, your friend in Woody Creek,
Anita Thompson

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