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Outlaw Writer (cont.)

My computer at the library logged out unexpectedly when they were closing and I forgot to complete the interview when I got home.  So, here is the rest Hunter’s answer to George Plimpton’s question he asked Hunter one night about 5 years ago for a Paris Review interview.  George Plimpton asked “What’s the appeal of the “outlaw” writer, such as yourself?

Hunter said:

I just usually go with my own taste.   If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, I might have a problem.  But an outlaw can be defined as somebody who lives outside the law, beyond the law, not necessarily against it.  It’s pretty ancient.  It goes back to Scandinavian history.  People were declared outlaws and were cast out of the community and sent to foreign lands – exiled.  They operated outside the law in communities all over Greenland and Iceland, wherever they drifted.  Outside the law in the countries they came from – I don’t think they were trying to be outlaws… I was never trying, necessarily, to be an outlaw.  It was just the place in which I found myself.  By the time I started Hells’ Angels I was riding with them and it was clear that it was no longer possible for me to go back and live within the law.  Between Vietnam and weed – a whole generation was criminalized in that time.  You realize that you are subject to being busted. A lot of people grew up with that attitude.  There were a lot more outlaws than me.  I was just a writer.  I wasn’t trying to be an outlaw writer.  I never heard of the term; somebody else made it up.  But we were all outside the law:  Kerouac, Miller, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Kesey; I didn’t have a gauge as to who was the worst outlaw.  I just recognized my allies: my people.


Until next time, your friend,

Anita Thompson

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