I know I have been abent from the blogosophere for quite some time now and I will get around to getting back to the other blogs in the circle as soon as finals are over.
surprsingly though, in the mist of my craze of stress and homework I always found time to read. mainly because it was my "get away" and it kept me sane. but also mainly because the book I happened to be reading was amazing. you guys have heard me post blogs "still reading..." it took me like 9 months to read that book about Howard Hughes (which i loved! but still couldnt just sit down and read it.) but this book was different.
this book is called 'The Kitchen Readings' its written by Michael Cleverly and Bob Braudis. Never heard of them? don't worry you shouldn't know them, they aren't writers and although Cleverly is an artist, they aren't famous. They were two of the best friends of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and this book is full of stories about the great HST.
its in a completely different light though. its not all about his gonzo, firearms, illegal actions, drug snorting, alcohol using lifestyle. its in there, but in a completely admirable way somehow. you're reading these stories and the underlying "facts" come out that this guy is an asshole, this guy is crazy. But the way they write about him, and the way they describe who he truly is -- you find it all funny, charming, endearing, its really quite amazing.
I'm writing this blog, because I just finished the book (it took me 2 weeks to finish this book, in the heat of finals, stress, weird sleep patterns, I finished the book. They cleverly organized the stories somewhat choronically and with purpose. the last two chapters are about hunters death, which i was completely unaware of.
I knew HST had died, but through this book I learned how recently and the moment I started crying was when I read that Hunter took his own life. the book goes back and forth between stories from Cleverly and Braudis and the very last 2 chapters talk about the last time they were with Hunter when he was alive. Braudis was with Hunter the very night before and both of them recalled Hunter being in a great mood, having fun, what they referred to as "vintage" Hunter the last time they saw him.
Hunter had a spinal replacement surgery and that took a huge toll on him and what really started all his medical pain and "problems" he went through a horrble detox when he was in the hospital from alcohol and his drugs and the physical therapy rehab after he was released was just as painful as not doing anything. Braudis recalls nights when they would sit in front of the fire and Hunter would tell him about the stresses of his life - i guess an insight of why he ended up doing what he did. I think ultimately though it was the pain (physical medical pain)
the one thing I have to say though is that as much of a Hunter fan as I have always been ever since I read "Rum Diary" I always took Hunter for someone I would want to read about, and even maybe watch in a movie, but never someone I would want to meet, I always took him for this total junkie, asshole, out of control nut (which to some credit he is) but these "untold stories" provide a completely different side to him, in that he is someone I would completely want to meet and be friends with and I would want to sit in his kitchen with him and be part of that circle (Hunters kitchen was the "headquarters" and was where they all hung out and just sat around and discussed politics and everything else)
and so when I read about his death and how his friends felt. I was actually bawling, so much I couldnt see the words on the page. I had fallen in love with this man through these stories.
Michael Cleverly had two read great passages I just had to write down and now I want to share them
"perhaps when we age and our senses become less acute, our vision and hearing dim. its so that when we finally leave this world, we won't miss it so much."
and my favorite
"people are still reading Hunter, as they have been for decades. I dont know if his books have ever gone out of print. One reason people read him is because he was very funny. he was very funny because he was very smart and because he was honest. Hunter was a 68 year old man who spoke to young people. he was a boozer and a druggie who spoke to people who never embraced booze or drugs themselves and he was a liberal who spoke to people whose political learnings were far away from his own. we all recognized that there was something in Hunter hat we could only hope to see in ourselves; an utter lack of hypocrisy. when Hunter was being brutally honest with those around him it could sometimes be unpleasant but he was just as honest about himself. he didnt sugarcoat it."
the part i bolded was the part that I felt like jumping up and saying "that's me! that's me!" I always fear that people who dont understand what it is like to read Hunter will judge me when they know hes a druggie and a boozer thinking that I commesorate with him or have something in common with him. because I dont have a single thing in common with him other than our share for politics and stories.
needless to say. I highly recommend this book. I feel like in some ways some of the stories have actually maybe changed my life. which could launch me into a whole nother' blog and this one is long enough.