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Living The Gonzo Way

Although I’m running around airports trying to get back to campus by tomorrow morning in time to give a presentation on Toni Morrison for my American Studies seminar, I wanted to post a great letter that I received from a reader from Delaware.  Yes I do get many wonderful emails from readers, and I wish I could post them all, but this one encapsulates the reason I wrote the book all in one email. He had me cheering out loud (waking Athena up) when he says that yes, Hunter did give him the confidence he needed as a young man…

Dear Anita,

My name is Sean Stellfox, I am 23 and from Delaware. After chasing the  moon with marathon of videogames and scotch, I woke up around 10 am. and immediately reached for my copy of The Gonzo Way, which shipped to my  house on Friday, Sept 28. With a minor hangover I managed to read the  entire book cover to cover, in less than 2 hours. I am writing this  email while I am still feeling the emotions from my initial reading to let  you know the impact Hunter has had on my life.   

I first came into contact with Hunter Thompson in my sophomore year of  high school sometime in ‘99 or ’00, through “the Vegas movie.” At the  time drugs were a huge part of my life and I only saw the film as a wild drug trip. After doing some research, I found that the movie was much  more then about drugs and more of an epitaph to the American Dream.

At the time I began reading any books I could find by Hunter starting  with Screwjack and The Rum Diary. Before this I barley picked up a book  (or cared about academics), but there was something about  Thompson’s  writing that I found intriguing and inspiring. My parents began to notice  a change as well, so much so that I can remember the time my father,  to his show support, bought me copy of The Great Shark Hunt. By the time  I graduated from high school, I had read though many of Thompson’s  books and as a result saw an improvement in my grades. 

After high school, I went to a small college in PA, and got a degree in  English (the only field that I was good at). I feel that this is due  to Hunter, who showed me the value of the printed word as well opened my  world to many other authors. In college, I was able to turn some of my  close friends on to Hunter. This was done through a combination of  drugs, “The Vegas Movie,” and my knowledge on him. I was even able to  recruit some students who were undecided to become an English major directly because of Hunter’s writing. 

In my senior at college, I heard that Thompson died through a friend  late Sunday night. That following Monday, I mourned his death by writing  a small note of inspiration in the margin of an old hardback edition of  Hell’s Angels.

Since graduating, I have taken two jobs. One job is as a stock clerk at  a local grocery store and the other is as an adjunct teacher at a  local community college. I will eventually go on to get my Master’s and I  would like to study and teach Hunter’s work because I believe that his  writing needs to be read by everyone.

I feel that your book was very moving and encouraged me to continuing  pursuing my dreams with a vengeance. Even though, I would like to study  and teach Hunter, I do NOT feel I am one of the “elite who understood  the value of his work in ‘literary history’" because I was once and  -still am at heart- that young teenager who gained confidence and courage  from Hunter. I feel that if it were not for Thompson I would not have  found myself and don’t know what path life would have led me down.

I will take the advice from this book in my effort to live the Gonzo Way, but I guess by sending this email; I am also breaking that final  rule of Gonzo.

-Sean Stellfox


Okay. Sean, I love you. Whoever you are! Until next time, your friend,

Anita Thompson




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