Monday, December 26, 2011

Writing: Quotes

This quote is from his novel "Women", the first of only two books I've read by him.  

When it comes to Bukowski, I'm not a conventional fan.  I've never read any of his poetry, nor do I want to.  His novels that I have read, "Post Office" & "Women", didn't really stand out as anything very special, and lets face it, he wasn't exactly a nice guy.  His lifestyle has created an entire generation of copycat amateur writers that think you have to be a drunken asshole to be talented.

The reason why I keep coming back to him as one of my favorite writers is because he was a wordsmith that had a knack for pumping out amazing quotes, this one included.  Some are good with novels, others with nonfiction, and some are good with essays... to me, Bukowski's niche was being a quote machine.

Ask Google to show you his quotes.  They're all brilliant and simple at the same time. 

Music: Songs

I first heard of Stevie Ray Vaughan when I was 12 or 13.  By then, I had been taking guitar lessons for a few years and one of the requests I had for my teacher was to not only show me how to play the six string, but tell me about the people who could do it the best.  SRV was at the top of that list.

This song is probably one of my favorites of his.  Sure, SRV is best known for his blisteringly fast and intricate guitar solos, but he was also an incredible all-around blues man.  This song was released about a year after Stevie's death in 1990 on a compilation of un-released studio tracks called "The Sky Is Crying".  This song is by far the most powerful.  Featuring just Stevie and an acoustic guitar, it's a song that people believe is about his past drug & alcohol addiction and his reflections on it.

To me, Stevie Ray Vaughan wasn't just a guitarist or a musician.  He was the blues guitarist.  A lot of people disagree with me, citing musicians like B.B. King, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy,  etc.  and I do partially agree with them, those men are incredible.  But Stevie didn't play the blues, he was the blues.  His life was littered with pain and anguish, from both him and his surroundings... all the way to the tragic circumstances of his death.

Listen to this song tonight, by yourself.  Very few songs out there can make your heart hurt the way this one does.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Writing: Letter Excerpts

Hunter S. Thompson self portrait, Louisville, KY. 1963

"As things stand now, I am going to be a writer.  I'm not sure that I'm going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says, 'you are nothing', I will be a writer."
"My apartment, once the scene of lazy sex and quiet privacy, has erupted during the past two weeks into a virtual cave of howling drunken insanity.  There are people sleeping everywhere - on my bed, on the couch, on the cot, and even on sleeping bags on the floor.  Everything in the place is covered in stale beer, most of my records are ruined, every piece of linen, towel, or clothing in the place is filthy, the dishes haven't been washed in weeks, the neighbors have petitioned the landlord to have me evicted, my sex life has been absolutely smashed, I have no money, no food, no privacy, and certainly no piece of mind."
-Hunter S. Thompson, letter to Rodger Richards from Cuddebackville
June 3, 1959

"I live 5 miles from town, on the beach, 4-room house, motor scooter, no job, writing freelance stuff for Stateside newspapers, also fiction, so many bugs I can barely breathe, wide here and cooking, no money, vagrant artist from New York also living here, has sailboat, all in all life is not bad."
-Hunter S. Thompson, letter from Loiz Aldea, Puerto Rico
May 25, 1960

"Monday I'll ride my thumb south - Carmel, Monterey, Big Sur, and maybe all the way to Los Angeles.  Whatever happens will be all right.  I do not care and have no plans.  All I want to do is get out on the coast and see the California everybody talks about.  I'll go as far as the rides take me, sleep on the beach (sleeping bag), and beg, if necessary, for food."
-Hunter S. Thompson, letter to Sandy Conklin
October 28, 1960

"I am surrounded by lunatics here, people screeching every time I pull a trigger, yelling about my blood-soaked shirt, packs of queers waiting to do me in, so many creditors that I've lost count, a huge Doberman on the bed, a pistol by the desk, time passing, getting balder, no money, a great thirst for all the world's whiskey, my clothes rotting in the fog, a mootrcycle with no light, a landlady who's writing a novel on butcher-paper, wild boar in the hills and queers on the roads, vats of homemade beer in the closet, shooting cats to ease the pressure, the jabbing of Buddhists in the trees, whores in the canyons, Christ only knows if I can last it out."
-Hunter S. Thompson, letter from Big Sur
August 4, 1961

"I am down to 10 U.S. dollars but have developed a theory which will go down as Thompson's Law of Travel Economics.  To wit: full speed ahead and damn the cost; it will all come out in the wash."
-Hunter S. Thompson, letter en route to Bogota
May 26, 1962

"I am trying to get out of here on the jungle train, but the hotel won't take my checks so I can't leave.  I just sit in the room and ring the bell for more beer.  Life has improved immeasurably since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously."
-Hunter S. Thompson, letter from La Paz, Bolivia
August 18, 1962

These excerpts are from letters written by HST when he lived in Puerto Rico, South America and California.  Even at his mid-twenties, he was already traveling the world with a typewriter, tremendous talent and a taste for mayhem.
Pick up a biography on him... he's led quite the incredible life, one that I would kill to duplicate. 


Photo Credit: Artistique Photographie 

Due to my obsession for The Written Word, I've always had a fondness for cool looking libraries.  This one, located in a hidden area somewhere in the Nines hotel in Portland is no exception.  

The maroon felt on the pool table and ceiling paint of similar color give a rich contrast to the dark wood of the bookshelves, portraying a kind of contemporary elegance that I'd like to someday  pull off in my own home.  

Writing: Poetry

Photo Credit: Lucien Knuteson

"Antigonish" by Hughes Mearnes, 1899

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn' there
He wasn't there again today
I wish, I wish he'd go away...

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn't see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don't you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don't slam the door

Last night upon the stair
A little man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
Oh, how I wish he'd go away.

Normally, I'm not partial to poetry, but I've always been a fan of these three stanzas because of how amazingly creepy and creative they are... especially for the late 1800's.