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Hunter S. Thompson Memorial — Memorials

Hello!  I’m so glad that many of you appreciated Jim Caruso’s post and Joseph Conrad’s words on ART. The remaining section of Conrad’s Preface is on the next page… (click on the link at bottom of my post).

also, click on this fun link that Ralph sent and asked, IS IT ART?

today was a good day, watering the lawn, correspondence, packing up the rest of my home office (only the office furniture) to be moved to the Woody Creek Community Center. Feel good about  Owl Farm. I received an email from a  fellow gonzo friend  that asked a common question:


So maybe I’m just another ignorant fool, but I can’t seem to find any information on Hunter’s Gonzo memorial..
I’m taking a road trip out west this July and thought about going a little bit out of my way to see the memorial because I had heard so much about it and I’m such a huge Hunter fan.  But upon researching, I can’t seem to find anything.  I’m not expecting a visitor’s center, a gift shop, or any other highlights of a normal tourist attraction..that wouldn’t be right.  But is the monument open to visit? Or Owl Farm for that matter?  I would truly be blessed to be on Hunter’s old stomping grounds.  Please let me know one way or the other, and forgive me if I’ve missed something obvious.
Thanks and much respect, because I am such a big admirer,


Dear Daniel and everyone who would like to see the memorial,

The actual memorial is in a gigantic vault of some kind that Johnny Depp has  been taking care of until a final home for it is discovered. As you know, Hunter loved Johnny very much and respected his judgment. So, it’s in good hands, and when the time is right, we’ll all know.

Wayne Ewing, Hunter’s dear friend and biographer for several decades, did film the making of the memorial, When I Die which is available to view. its is personal, behind the scenes with the respect Wayne is famous for.

Although I have not yet opened Owl Farm to the public, as it is Hunter’s beloved home,  I’ve kept it as Hunter left it, and our family is at peace (unless the impatient drunken intruders have to be dealt with) is a memorial to his good taste in the Rockies: Owl Farm in a Xanadu like area of the valley. And the fact that the Woody Creek has avoided and survived the massive building spree of Aspen is also a memorial to Hunter and George Stranahan and all who live here.

The greatest memorial, which you already know, is in Hunter’s books. Never underestimate what opening one of his books and reading his words, with Ralph Steadman’s illustrations, will do for your confidence, good humor and ability to SEE… (I’m still working on the seeing part myself). Remember, this year is the 40th anniversary of the birth of Gonzo: When Hunter and Ralph worked together for the first time:

Around Derby Day (And hats off, that today is also the anniversay of THE D-day).

he wrote:My Dear Anita


Surely not 40 years since Hunter and  me met.  I was only 34 years old and totally innocent. Hunter was the same age but he wasn’t innocent- but I didn’t know that at the time.  GONZO was founded on pure trust and anyway, I thought Hunter was Howard Johnson!!  I had never heard of him- nor him, me!!


If you look on page 111 of hardcopy of Teh Great Shark Hunt, or Ralph’s America, you’ll see an interview w Hunter about Ralph:

E.D. You’ve worked with Ralph Steadman quite a bit, Dr. Thompson. Soem of the material in this book came out of strange assignments and trips you made together. How did you two hook up in the first place?

HST: Ah, let’s see…I ran into him at the Kentucky Derby i May of 1969. I had been looking around for an artist to go to the Derby with me. I called Warren Hinckle, the editor at Scanlans, and said, "We need somebody with a really peculiar sense of humor, because this is going to be a very twisted story. it’ll require somebody with a serious kink in brain.." 

… (then on the the general topic of their work in other books about America and Ralph’s earlier take on America]

ED:  Drunk?

HST: He’s constantly drunk, in public – 

… ED: Does he draw fast?.. so he’s very fast?

HST:  YEs, it’s shocking to work with him. Just about the time I’m starting to sit down and get to work, he’s finished. It’s depressing. It took me three weeks to write that Kentucky Derby story, but Steadman did his drawing in three days. He’s not a serious boozer, you know, but when when he comes over here and gets involved in these horrible scenes, it causes him to drink heavily….

America by Ralph Steadman, San Francisco, Straight Arrow Press, 1974 (continues on  to page 119)

 Sadly, I want to transcribe from one of the best memorials to Hunter, written by Ralph, titled The Joke’s Over. Damnit, after searching every library room at Owl Farm, i now remember that my copy is in my book storage in NYC. So, please open your copy and send me some of those wonderful stories he tells. My 2000 mile away book is marked up and is writing into the tall grass at its finest., but useless to me at the moment since I took it with me to NY. soon come.

Okay, bedtime for me but not before the promised Conrad Preface. Click below:

Your friend at Owl Farm,

Anita Thompon


  (continued from Joseph Conrad — Preface the the Nigger of the Narcissus)

Fiction — if it at all aspires to be art — appeals to temperament. And in truth it must be, like painting, like music, like all art, the appeal of one temperament to all the other innumerable temperaments whose subtle and resistless power endows passing events with their true meaning, and creates the moral, the emotional atmosphere of the place and time. Such an appeal, to be effective, must be an impression conveyed through the senses; and, in fact, it cannot be made in any other way, because temperament, whether individual or collective, is not amenable to persuasion. All art, therefore, appeals primarily to the senses, and the artistic aim when expressing itself in written words must also make its appeal through the senses, if its high desire is to reach the secret spring of responsive emotions. It must strenuously aspire to the plasticity of sculpture, to the colour of painting, and to the magic suggestiveness of music — which is the art of arts. And it is only through complete, unswerving devotion to the perfect blending of form and substance; it is only through an unremitting, never-discouraged care for the shape and ring of sentences that an approach can be made to plasticity, to colour; and the light of magic suggestiveness may be brought to play for an evanescent instant over the commonplace surface of words: of the old, old words, worn thin, defaced by ages of careless usage.

   The sincere endeavour to accomplish that creative task, to go as far on that road as his strength will carry him, to go undeterred by faltering, weariness or reproach, is the only valid justification for the worker in prose. And if his conscience is clear, his answer to those who, in the fulness of a wisdom which looks for immediate profit, demand specifically to be edified, consoled, amused; who demand to be promptly improved, or encouraged, or frightened, or shocked, or charmed, must run thus: — My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel — it is, before all, to make you see. That — and no more, and it is everything. If I succeed, you shall find there according to your deserts: encouragement, consolation, fear, charm — all you demand; and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask.

   To snatch in a moment of courage, from the remorseless rush of time, a sapping phase of life is only the beginning of the task. The task approached in tenderness and faith is to hold up unquestioningly, without choice and without fear, the rescued fragment before all eyes and in the light of a sincere mood. It is to show its vibration, its colour, its form; and through its movement, its form, and its colour, reveal the substance of its truth — disclose its inspiring secret: the stress and passion within the core of each convincing moment. In a single-minded attempt of that kind, if one be deserving and fortunate, one may perchance attain to such clearness of sincerity that at last the presented vision of regret or pity, of terror or mirth, shall awaken in the hearts of the beholders that feeling of unavoidable solidarity; of the solidarity in mysterious origin, in toil, in joy, in hope, in uncertain fate, which binds men to each other and all mankind to the visible world.

   It is evident that he who, rightly or wrongly, holds by the convictions expressed above cannot be faithful to any one of the temporary formulas of his craft. The enduring part of them — the truth which each only imperfectly veils — should abide with him as the most precious of his possessions, but they all: Realism, Romanticism, Naturalism, even the unofficial sentimentalism (which, like the poor, is exceedingly difficult to get rid of); all these gods must, after a short period of fellowship, abandon him — even on the very threshold of the temple — to the stammerings of his conscience and to the outspoken consciousness of the difficulties of his work. In that uneasy solitude the supreme cry of Art for Art, even, loses the exciting ring of its apparent immorality. It sounds far off. It has ceased to be a cry, and is heard only as a whisper, often incomprehensible, but at times, and faintly, encouraging.

   Sometimes, stretched at ease in the shade of a roadside tree, we watch the motions of a labourer in a distant field, and after a time, begin to wonder languidly as to what the fellow may be at. We watch the movements of his body, the waving of his arms, we see him bend down, stand up, hesitate, begin again. It may add to the charm of an idle hour to be told the purpose of his exertions. If we know he is trying to lift a stone, to dig a ditch, to uproot a stump, we look with a more real interest at his efforts; we are disposed to condone the jar of his agitation upon the restfulness of the landscape; and even, if in a brotherly frame of mind, we may bring ourselves to forgive his failure. We understood his object, and, after all, the fellow has tried, and perhaps he had not the strength, and perhaps he had not the knowledge. We forgive, go on our way — and forget.

   And so it is with the workman of art. Art is long and life is short, and success is very far off. And thus, doubtful of strength to travel so far, we talk a little about the aim — the aim of art, which, like life itself, is inspiring, difficult — obscured by mists. It is not in the clear logic of a triumphant conclusion; it is not in the unveiling of one of those heartless secrets which are called the Laws of Nature. It is not less great, but only more difficult.

   To arrest, for the space of a breath, the hands busy about the work of the earth, and compel men entranced by the sight of distant goals to glance for a moment at the surrounding vision of form and colour, of sunshine and shadows; to make them pause for a look, for a sigh, for a smile — such is the aim, difficult and evanescent, and reserved only for a very few to achieve. But sometimes, by the deserving and the fortunate, even that task is accomplished. And when it is accomplished — behold! — all the truth of life is there: a moment of vision, a sigh, a smile — and the return to an eternal rest.

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