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Harrison Fieler and a Lump of Coal

Harrison Fieler was vastly talented.  Of this, he was certain — for it had been pointed out to him all his life by old women at his large, Midwestern high school, by old men at his small Eastern college, by young men in the army, and finally by young girls in Greenwich Village — where he came, in the flush of his vibrant youth, to live, work, and climb the ladder to fame and immortality. 
But for all his raging talent, Harrison Fieler was painfully unsuccessful.  In five years, he had gotten nowhere.
After three semesters, he gave up on the Art Students’ League and joined Actors’ Equity.  While working as a stagehand at an off-Broadway theatre, he wrote a play.  It took him two years, and the play was a dismal failure.  No one would even read it through.  His best friends, after listening to the first act, advised him to try another medium…

–Hunter S. Thompson, Fire in the Nuts. 


      Those are the first lines of a short story Hunter wrote 50 years ago while he lived in NYC where he also studied at Columbia University.  The ironic thing about this story is that the main character, Harrison Fieler, is a miserable failure of a writer with overwhelming personality defects who can’t write a decent line to save his life while Hunter, who actually wrote the story enjoyed the success in his career that one in a million ever dream of.  The second irony is that 50 years after he wrote the story, the magazine that was created in his honor by his wife and the community he loves is the first magazine it will appear in.  It’s a beautiful thing.
 This Woody Creeker double issue is being printed right now and will be sent out Friday or next week.  Yes there are many anxious readers who have been emailing.  It’s a great issue, with a new Ralph Steadman Centerfold.  He painted a portrait of Hunter’s lead attorney to accompany an interview I did with Hal Haddon; Portrait of a Gonzo lawyer.   Dwight Shellman writes how the Woody Creek caucus successfully got the local officials to make an oath to uphold the Bill of Rights above the Patriot Act and tells how other communities can do the same.  And then, I’m happy to introduce the new series I started called “The New Order: The Women of Woody Creek”  Each issue I will include interviews with the eclectic and impressive group of women who make up this community. 
            So, hang tight and understand that this is a REAL homemade magazine.  I do all the design and editing here at Owl Farm with the help of the best minds in the business from around the country and even across the ocean.  It is local and certainly does not make a profit.  I do it for the love of my community in Woody Creek and the community of Gonzo readers.  It’s very low budget and costs me money every issue.  It says on the cover, “published when you least expect it.”  Those of you who sent emails asking where the 3rd issue is, will get it ASAP.  Those of you who sent demanding & rude & personal attacks will NOT get your magazine.  You will get a refund check & a lump of coal.
            I’m back home for a few days to gather some things to bring back with me to NY.  Now it’s hard to leave because the colors are just starting to change.  The air is a little crisper than when I left 10 days ago.  This is my favorite time of year.  Fall.
Until next time, your friend,
Anita Thompson 

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