Monday, May 11, 2009

Sharks In The Water

I read this Hunter S. Thompson book while on the bus out to California. It's not a light read by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it's often pretty brutal, but also equally hilarious. It was the perfect thing for a bus trip filled with psychotic lizard people.

I consider Thompson a genius on some level. He made political writing fun, he brought anger to new levels, and he wasn't shy about his drug use. Reading the good doctor made me want to be a better, more honest writer. I was already an angry writer by the time I started reading his work, but he made me be more direct. The Great Shark Hunt was my beginning. It was not the end.

When I heard the news that Thompson had died, I was saddened. Not shocked. I had been expecting it for years. I did feel, however, that the world lost someone who could never really be replaced. When we lose Grisham (hopefully any day now), some other writer will take his place. When we lost Thompson there was a void, and nothing has rushed in to fill it. Actually, nothing can really fill it. Some can try, and they may be partially sucessful at it. They won't replace the man, however, and I don't think any of them worth their weight would want to do that.

The legacy the man leaves behind is not only one of great journalism, it's one of inspiration. I rest easy knowing that on any given day some kid is going to pick up one of his books for the first time and become inspired to be a writer. This is as inevitable as the rising sun, and it is the legacy that I think means the most.

Cheers, you swine.

(Click here for Thompson books at Powell's.)

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