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Dear Ralph, we killed like champions > Final Thoughts on HST

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Hey all, this will probably be my last Hunter piece for a bit… at least here at Blogcritcs. The reason is because beginning any day now he will be on the cover of every magazine and a zillion writers and commentators will be telling you how influential he was. They will be telling you what his greatest works were, and how he shaped journalism as it is known today. As I mentioned in my last post, for me to do that would be to demean your personal experience and perception of him. So instead I’d like to share why he was so important to me, and some specifics about how things are going in Aspen right now.

I discovered Hunter in High School. I loved him for the same reasons I loved my other favorite authors; Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, William s Burroughs, Frank Zappa, and Charles Bukowski. I loved them because at the time I was a long haired hippy freak who loved literature and music and was very influential. I was in that ‘fuck corporate America’ phase where I thought anarchy was cool. You know, you went through the same phase too. Those folks mentioned above thought the same way… but they were grown ups! They were grown ups and they were famous! It completely validated my stupid existence. I thought for the longest time I was doomed to be a weird loner thinker guy with contempt for status quo. These guys showed me there are alternatives.

Around the time I was discovering this art, I realized most of these folks were dead. Burroughs was still alive (barely), Bukowski, Zappa, and HST. Well, they all died off and left me no role models. All except for Hunter. I love his writing because it isn’t just insightful, it’s FUN. Just about every word that comes out of his pen is a damn lie if not an exaggeration. I think I lived vicariously through him for that. For me he kept hope alive, and as I mentioned below he was one of the big reasons I chose to move to Colorado.

Details of what exactly happened and stuff. Please feel free to skip.
At approx 5 pm Sunday evening Hunter called his wife Anita at the gym from home. She was working out and apparently the conversation was not out of the ordinary. He made no mention of any kind about suicide. At home with Hunter were his son, Juan, and Hunter’s grandchild (Juan’s child). Those two were in another room watching TV, and Hunter was in his kitchen. Shortly after his call with Anita ended he put a piston into his mouth and fired. He died immediately. Juan heard a thump of what he thought was ‘a big book falling’ and came to see what happened. There he discovered his father dead. There was never any question as to how Hunter died or who pulled the trigger. People who had seen or been with Hunter even that weekend said he did not appear out of sorts or unusually depressed. However, over the last few years he had discussed suicide on occasion as his body began to fail him. In the last year he had major surgeries to his hip, leg, and spine. These left him in constant pain and mostly immobile. Hunter knew end times were coming, and didn’t want to die in a hospital without dignity and hooked up to machines… he had told people that over and over.
Hunter was cremated in Glenwood Springs on Tuesday. His ashes were returned to the family who plan to somehow launch them out of a cannon over his ranch in Woody Creek. This will most likely be done in a private ceremony with family and close friends only on March 5th.

The family is expecting to do some kind of public event ‘in the spring’. I expect details to emerge on that in about a week or so.

I am going to suggest a couple of things you won’t see in all the articles that are about to be published. First off, my favorite book of his is “Curse of Lono” which is about him covering the Honolulu Marathon for ‘Running’ magazine back in 1980. I find it to be his best work, though it is long out of print now. I also recommend buying ‘Breakfast with Hunter’ on DVD. It was just released last year and is a documentary done over the last five years. The reason why I say ‘buy’ instead of rent is because this DVD is mail order only through Wayne Ewing’s site www.breakfastwithhunter.com. Given present circumstances, it may be soon available for wide release now that everyone agrees how swell and important Hunter was. Of course, it is mail order only because before Hunter killed himself no one much cared how or what he was doing. I know the DVD wasn’t a huge release online either because when I ordered it, I got an e mail back from Wayne Ewing himself thanking me and saying it was on it’s way.

That is all for now. Remember, for all your Hunter Stockton Thompson online needs… I again refer you back to Christine’s bitchin’ and thorough site ‘The Great Thompson Hunt’. Even after this post is gone, her link will be on the left with all the others… just as it always has been.

Thanks for your kind words and wonderful remembrances. I hope you can stop in now and again here for a read.

“There is a train leaving nightly called ‘when all is said and done’, Keep me in your heart for a while.
– Warren Zevon

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About Lono

  • Raoul

    Hi, these comments were made by my girlfriend, a short while ago . . . from a womens point of view.. very eloquent, too bad she hates me 90% of the time . . .

    Why? why did I like hunter?

    Because I finally found someone who saw this world, and especially america, with similar non-rose colored glasses (rifle-range glasses, maybe?), sort of like how i see it: as a vile and evil place where only the most finely-tuned in intelligence are smart enough to be ultra-paranoid, not eat up the constant stream of crap/hype, etc., yet be strong enough not to collapse under the hideous pressure. To make wit of it, even.

    Hell, at this point in time you would have to be a pretty stupid individual to trust an american (or a man). And yet, there was always that HOPE, that hope that just maybe one day, some way, something/someone surely would rise above the stench and make it all better. Oh well . . .

    Because I finally found a man that could possibly be better at being a man than I.

    Because I found a man that could possibly drink me under the table.

    Because I liked his sense of style.

    Yet I hated his sexism, for it seems that he never really could get past that. Like most common men, while he could wholly embrace his “fellow brothers” from other, less fortunate races, he never could see the light when it came to the female of this gawd forsaken and perpetually doomed species. Such a shame, really.

    And I hated his violence, love of guns, love of hunting, love of all things male or with a motor.

    Yet I loved his writing, and I actually read it. And I could get lost in it and not feel like I was the only creature alive who had such an urgent and constant need to shun what we are supposed to believe is “authority.” To question. To ask more questions. And then some more. To doubt. And to find a belief system through the doubting.

    I loved the fast paced bravado, the no-holds-barred fearless use of language. Stating what everyone was really thinking but no one had the balls to say (or write).

    He appealed to the outlaw/renigade in me, and apparently I wound up with a huge dose of that in my character. Amen.

  • http://www.bach-bukowski.nl Pearl

    Hi Lono (and others),

    From this article I understood that you are a great fan of Charles Bukowski. Because of that, I thought you might also be interested in the Bach-Bukowski project (concerts and cd) by Willem van Ekeren (Holland). Bach-Bukowski is an extraordinary mixture of singing and piano.
    Thirteen of the poems of Bukowski’s ˜The last night of the earth poems’
    are woven together with 13 parts of the ˜Well-tempered Clavier’ of Bach.
    The lyrics are sung blues/jazz style in combination with authentic Bach
    music on the piano.

    On our website you can find more information and audiofragments. It is
    also possible to order the cd.
    http://www.bach-bukowski.nl/en

    Thought you might want to know!

    Best regards,

    Marguerite van de Poll
    Pearl Productions
    spark@bach-bukowski.nl
    tel: +3170-3639873
    http://www.bach-bukowski.nl/en