“It doesn’t ring a bell at all,” said Dourgarian, who specializes in selling first editions of Steinbeck’s work. “And that’s saying something if I haven’t heard of it. It’s also surprising because you would think that anything Steinbeck was involved with would be printed some place.”
But 70 years after Welles’ introduction in the midst of World War II, “With Your Wings” is getting a second release. Andrew F. Gulli, managing editor of the Birmingham, Michigan-based quarterly The Strand Magazine, came upon the transcript recently while looking through archives at the University of Texas at Austin. He features it in The Strand’s holiday issue, which comes out Friday.
Steinbeck, who died in 1968, wrote often about social injustice and on occasion featured black characters, notably Crooks in his classic novella “Of Mice and Men.” Gulli, whose magazine specializes in reissuing obscure works by famous writers, said in a recent email that “With Your Wings” was characteristic of the Nobel laureate’s worldview.
“Steinbeck was an idealist. He saw America as this wonderful land with so much to offer but on the flip side, he could see inequality, he could see greed and excess destroying the working classes,” Gulli wrote. “This story strikes me as an effort to show middle America that African-Americans were carrying on a huge burden in defending the United States and the allies during the war.”
An avid supporter of the war, Steinbeck worked overseas as a correspondent in the 1940s and, according to biographer Robert DeMott, wrote a favorable book about the Air Force called “Bombs Away!” Dourgarian noted that Steinbeck had favored “unusual” stories instead of describing the daily briefings from military officials.
“With Your Wings” at first reads like a standard narrative of a veteran’s return, a plot used by everyone from Homer to Ernest Hemingway. Second Lieutenant William Thatcher has completed his training and at a farewell ceremony receives silver wings, pinned to his chest. He climbs into his “clattering” Model-A Ford and sets out for an unidentified hometown. He appears to be greeted as a hero, or at least a celebrity, passing “crowded porches” and children “washed and dressed in their best and starchiest clothes, hairs bursting with ribbons.”
“He could hear the rustle as the neighbors moved silently near and formed a half circle behind him,” Steinbeck writes. “It was as though his own people were sitting in judgment on him.”
Thatcher’s sense of obligation is made more clear and powerful when Steinbeck reveals that he is black, at a time the military was segregated.
“He took off his cap with the gold eagle on it and held it in his hand. He saw his tall father lick his lips. And then his father said softly, ‘Son, every black man in the world is going to fly with your wings,'” Steinbeck writes.
“His heart was pounding. He could hear a little quiet murmur of voices in front of the house. He knew they were going to sing in a moment. And he knew now what he was to them.”
Online link: http://www.strandmag.com .
“I like the early stuff”: the classic masculine comment to make about the work of a well-known creator, demonstrating as it does the cultural consumer’s dedication, purism, judgmental rigor, and even endurance (given the relative accessibility, in the intellectual as well as the collector’s senses, of most “early stuff”). Now you have a chance to say it about that most ostensibly masculine of all 20th-century American writers, Ernest Hemingway. Above, see the cover of a coveted edition of the then-young “Papa”‘s very first book, 1923’s Three Stories & Ten Poems. The print run numbered only “300 copies, put out by friend and fellow expatriate, the writer- publisher Robert McAlmon,” writes Steve King at Today in Literature. “Both had arrived in Paris in 1921, Hemingway an unpublished twenty-two-year-old journalist with a recent bride, a handful of letters of introduction provided by Sherwood Anderson, and a clear imperative: ‘All you have to do is write one true sentence.’”
Most readers know Hunter S. Thompson for his 1971 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. But in over 45 years of writing, this prolific observer of the American scene wrote voluminously, often hilariously, and usually with deceptively clear-eyed vitriol on sports, politics, media, and other viciously addictive pursuits. (“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone,” he famously said, “but they’ve always worked for me.”) His distinctive style, often imitated but never replicated, all but forced the coining of the term “gonzo” journalism. But what could define it? One clue comes in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas itself, when Thompson reflects on his experience in the city, ostensibly as a reporter: “What was the story? Nobody had bothered to say. So we would have to drum it up on our own. Free Enterprise. The American Dream. Horatio Alger gone mad on drugs in Las Vegas. Do it now: pure Gonzo journalism.”
You’ll find out more in the Paris Review‘s interview with Thompson, in which he recounts once feeling that “journalism was just a ticket to ride out, that I was basically meant for higher things. Novels.” Sitting down to begin his proper literary career, Thompson took a quick job writing up the Hell’s Angels, which let him get over “the idea that journalism was a lower calling. Journalism is fun because it offers immediate work. You get hired and at least you can cover the f&cking City Hall. It’s exciting.” And then came the real epiphany, after he went to cover the Kentucky Derby for Scanlan‘s: “Most depressing days of my life. I’d lie in my tub at the Royalton. I thought I had failed completely as a journalist. Finally, in desperation and embarrassment, I began to rip the pages out of my notebook and give them to a copyboy to take to a fax machine down the street. When I left I was a broken man, failed totally, and convinced I’d be exposed when the stuff came out.”
Indeed, the exposure came, but not in the way he expected. Below, we’ve collected ten of Thompson’s articles freely available online, from those early pieces on the Hell’s Angels and the Kentucky Derby to others on the 1972 Presidential race, the Honolulu Marathon, Richard Nixon, and wee-hour conversations with Bill Murray. But don’t take these subjects too literally; Thompson always had a way of finding something even more interesting in exactly the opposite direction from whatever he’d initially meant to write about. And that, perhaps, reveals more about the gonzo method than anything else.
“The Motorcycle Gangs: Losers and Outsiders” (The Nation, 1965) The article that would become the basis for Thompson’s first book, Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. “When you get in an argument with a group of outlaw motorcyclists, you can generally count your chances of emerging unmaimed by the number of heavy-handed allies you can muster in the time it takes to smash a beer bottle. In this league, sportsmanship is for old liberals and young fools.”
“The Hippies” (Collier’s, 1968) Thompson’s assessment of the actual lifespan of American hippie culture. “The hippie in 1967 was put in the strange position of being an anti-culture hero at the same time as he was also becoming a hot commercial property. His banner of alienation appeared to be planted in quicksand. The very society he was trying to drop out of began idealizing him. He was famous in a hazy kind of way that was not quite infamy but still colorfully ambivalent and vaguely disturbing.”
“The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved” (Scanlan’s Monthly, 1970) A report from the bacchanal surrounding the Kentucky Derby, America’s most famous — and, in this depiction, by far its most grotesque — horse race. Also Thompson’s first collaboration with his longtime illustrator Ralph Steadman. (See also further background at Grantland.) “Unlike most of the others in the press box, we didn’t give a hoot in hell what was happening on the track. We had come there to watch the real beasts perform.”
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Rolling Stone, 1971) The Gonzo journalism classic first appeared as a two-part series in Rolling Stone magazine in November 1971, complete with illustrations from Ralph Steadman, before being published as a book in 1972. Rolling Stone has posted the original version on its web site.
“Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail in ’72” (Rolling Stone, 1973) Excerpts from Thompson’s book of nearly the same name, an examination of Democratic Party candidate George McGovern’s unsuccessful bid for the Presidency that McGovern’s campaign manager Frank Mankiewicz called “the least factual, most accurate account” in print. “My own theory, which sounds like madness, is that McGovern would have been better off running against Nixon with the same kind of neo-‘radical’ campaign he ran in the primaries. Not radical in the left/right sense, but radical in a sense that he was coming on with a new… a different type of politician… a person who actually would grab the system by the ears and shake it.”
“The Curse of Lono” (Playboy, 1983) Thompson and Steadman’s assignment from Running magazine to cover the Honololu marathon turns into a characteristically “terrible misadventure,” this one even involving the old Hawaiian gods. “It was not easy for me, either, to accept the fact that I was born 1700 years ago in an ocean-going canoe somewhere off the Kona Coast of Hawaii, a prince of royal Polynesian blood, and lived my first life as King Lono, ruler of all the islands, god of excess, undefeated boxer. How’s that for roots?”
“He Was a Crook” (Rolling Stone, 1994) Thompson’s obituary of, and personal history of his hatred for, President Richard M. Nixon. “Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism — which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place.
“Doomed Love at the Taco Stand” (Time, 2001) Thompson’s adventures in California, to which he has returned for the production of Terry Gilliam’s film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas starring Johnny Depp. “I had to settle for half of Depp’s trailer, along with his C4 Porsche and his wig, so I could look more like myself when I drove around Beverly Hills and stared at people when we rolled to a halt at stoplights on Rodeo Drive.”
“Fear & Loathing in America” (ESPN.com, 2001) In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Thompson looks out onto the grim and paranoid future he sees ahead. “This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed — for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush.”
“Prisoner of Denver” (Vanity Fair, 2004) A chronicle of Thompson’s (posthumously successful) involvement in the case of Lisl Auman, a young woman he believed wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of a police officer. “‘We’ is the most powerful word in politics. Today it’s Lisl Auman, but tomorrow it could be you, me, us.”
“Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray” (ESPN.com, 2005) Thompson’s final piece of writing, in which he runs an idea for a new sport —combining golf, Japanese multistory driving ranges, and the discharging of shotguns — by the comedy legend at 3:30 in the morning. “It was Bill Murray who taught me how to mortify your opponents in any sporting contest, honest or otherwise. He taught me my humiliating PGA fadeaway shot, which has earned me a lot of money… after that, I taught him how to swim, and then I introduced him to the shooting arts, and now he wins everything he touches.”
Hunter S. Thompson Remembers Jimmy Carter’s Captivating Bob Dylan Speech (1974)
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, Asia, film, literature, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on his brand new Facebook page.
“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bars: Ritz, Paris; Harry’s Bar, Venice; Costello’s, New York; Sloppy Joe’s, Key West; and La Floridita, Cuba.
“The whiskey warmed his tongue and the back of his throat, but it did not change his ideas any, and suddenly, looking at himself in the mirror behind the bar, he knew that drinking was never going to do any good to him now. Whatever he had now he had, and it was from now on, and if he drank himself unconscious when he woke up it would be there.” —To Have and Have Not, 1937
Ernest Hemingway once dubbed Key West, Florida, the “St. Tropez of the poor.”
[1891 – 1980]
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Higher Education: 2 months at New York City College (according to one biographer, Miller became “disillusioned after an encounter with Spenser’sFaerie Queene“)
On Education: “[G]oing to school so many hours a day, learning all that nonsense, is what I call utter garbage. The only part of education I approve of is kindergarten. The rest cripples you, makes an idiot of you. I know this sounds crazy, but I believe that we’re all born creative. We all have the same creative instincts. Most of us are killed off as artists, as creative people, by our schooling.”
Work Experience: Bellhop, garbage collector, cement mixer, gravedigger, employment manager at Western Union, employee at Park Department in Queens, manager of New York City speakeasy, starving artist, proofreader on the Paris edition of The Chicago Tribune
Family and Relationships: Married 5 times (Beatrice Sylvas Wickens, June Edith Smith Mansfield, Janina Martha Lepska, Eve McClure, Hiroko Tokuda); 2 daughters and a son; also had well-documented affair with writer Anais Nin
Favorite Authors: Celine (Journey to the End of the Night), Blaise Cendrars, Joseph Conrad, Dostoevsky, Theodore Dreiser, Elie Faure, Rider Haggard, Knut Hamsun (Hunger), Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha), Jack London, Nietzsche, Marcel Proust (Remembrance of Things Past), Isaac Bashevis Singer, Oswald Spengler, Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
Other Literary Influences: Taoistic writing, Oriental philosophy
On Ernest Hemingway: “Hemingway in my mind was not the great writer they make him out to be. He was a craftsman. But he wasn’t a craftsman as good as Somerset Maugham. There was a real craftsman. But if you are a craftsman you go on turning it out. It gets thinner and thinner . . . as much as I put him down, that first book, The Sun Also Rises, had a lot to do with my going to France; it inspired me to go.”
On George Orwell: “He was like so many English people, an idealist, and, it seemed to me, a foolish idealist. A man of principle, as we say. Men of principle bore me . . . I regard politics as a thoroughly foul, rotten world. We get nowhere through politics. It debases everything.”
On Jack Kerouac: “I have been fascinated by Kerouac, I must say. Very uneven writer, perhaps and I don’t think he has yet show his full possibilities, Kerouac . . . But he has a great gift, this great verbal gift like Thomas Wolfe had, you know, and a few others. Tremendous gift I think, but to me rather undisciplined, uncontrolled and so on, but I am fascinated by one book of his called The Dharma Bums.”
On William S. Burroughs: “Burroughs, whom I recognize as a man of talent, great talent, can turn my stomach. It strikes me, however, that he’s faithful to the Emersonian idea of autobiography, that he’s concerned with putting down only what he has experienced and felt. He’s a literary man whose style is unliterary.”
Tenure in Paris: 1930-1940
First Published Novel: Tropic of Cancer ( “[T]he Paris book: first person, uncensored, formless – fuck everything!”)
Age When Tropic of Cancer First Published: 43
Publisher: Grove Press
Year in Which Tropic of Cancer Finally Published in the United States: 1961 (U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled book was not obscene)
Last Lines, Tropic of Cancer: “Human beings make a strange fauna and flora. From a distance they appear negligible; close up they are apt to appear ugly and malicious. More than anything they need to be surrounded with sufficient space – space even more than time. The sun is setting. I feel this river flowing through me – its past, its ancient soil, the changing climate. The hills gently girdle it about: its course is fixed.”
Anais Nin on Tropic of Cancer: “This book brings with it a wind that blows down the dead and hollow trees whose roots are withered and lost in the barren soil of our times. This book goes to the roots and digs under, digs for subterranean springs.”
Ezra Pound on Tropic of Cancer: “At last, an unprintable book that’s readable.” [Another critic once described Miller’s entire body of work as “toilet-wall scribbling.”]
Origin of Tropic Titles: Miller’s pet names for June’s breasts – Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn
Selected Works: Tropic of Cancer (1934), Black Spring (1936), Tropic of Capricorn (1939), The Colossus of Maroussi (1941), The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945), Sexus (1949), The Books in My Life (1952), Plexus (1953), Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch (1957), Nexus(1960), Under the Roofs of Paris (1983) [Note: Sexus, Plexus and Nexus make up trilogy called The Rosy Crucifixion]
Favorite of His Own Books: The Colossus of Maroussi
Sample Sex Scene from Under the Roofs of Paris: “She has a bush as big as my hand and as soft as feathers. She lifts her dress in the front, takes my dong out and rubs John Thursday’s nose against her whiskers . . . will I pinch her breasts, she moans, and would I be offended if she asked me to kiss them, perhaps to bite? She’s catting for a fuck, that she’s been paid to come here has nothing to do with it now . . . she’d probably give the money back and something extra besides just to get a cock into that itch under her tail now . . . “
Awards and Honors: Elected to National Institute of Arts and Letters, 1957; French Legion of Honor, 1974
On His Readers: “I would say that perhaps less than 10 percent of my readers are the only ones I’m interested in having read me. The others are worthless. My books don’t do them any good or me any good. You see, I believe that over 90 percent of everything that is done in the realm of music, drama, painting, literature – any of the arts – is worthless.”
On His Critics: “Critics are just people, after all. They criticize, because you didn’t write the kind of book they wanted . . . I don’t write for the critics. I write for myself and the reader, whoever he or she may be.”
Favorite Films: Bunuel’s L’Age d’Or, Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria, Five Easy Pieces
Least Favorite Film: “Bonnie and Clyde! Did I hate that! I was clapping to myself when they machine-gunned them to death at the end. Dynamite them! Blow them to smithereens! It was so vulgar, that film. I love obscenity but I hate vulgarity. I can’t see how people can enjoy killing for fun. Also, there was a perverse streak there. There was a suggestion that the hero was impotent. I don’t like that. I like healthy sex. I don’t like impotence and perversion.”
Hobbies: Writing, painting, astrology, eating, roaming the streets of Paris, playing Ping-Pong [“I keep the Ping-Pong table handy for people I don’t want to talk to. You know, it’s simple. I just play Ping-Pong with them.”]
On American Artists: “I feel that America is essentially against the artist, that the enemy of America is the artist, because he stands for individuality and creativeness, and that’s unAmerican somehow. I think that of all countries – we have to overlook the communist countries of course – America is the most mechanized, robotized, of all.”
On Christianity: “The Christian Church in all its freakish ramifications and efflorescences is as dead as a doornail; it will pass away utterly when the political and social systems in which it is now embedded collapse. The new religion will be based on deeds, not beliefs.”
On the Civil War: “At Gettysburg, at Bull Run, at Manassas, at Fredericksburg, at Spottsylvania Court House, at Missionary Ridge, at Vicksburg I tried to visualize the terrible death struggle in which this great republic was locked for four long years. I have stood on many battlefields in various parts of the world but when I stand beside the graves of the dead in our own South the horror of war assails me with desolating poignancy. I see no results of this great conflict which justify the tremendous sacrifice which we as a nation were called upon to make. I see only an enormous waste of life and property, the vindication of right by might, and the substitution of one form of injustice for another. The South is still an open, gaping wound.”
On Civilization: “For 72 years I’ve been waiting to see some breakdown of the artificial barriers surrounding our educational system, our national borders, our homes, our inner being – a shattering of the wretched molds in which we’ve lived – but it never happens. We have the dynamic but we don’t set it off. I get sick of waiting.”
On Hippies: “Always, in the past, as soon as they become adults they join the Establishment. They become conservatives. The radical always becomes a great conservative. And the revolutionary becomes a tyrant, just like the one he overthrew.”
On Obscenity: “I feel I have simply restored sex to its rightful place in literature, rescued the basic life factor from literary oblivion, as it were. Obscenity, like sex, has its natural, rightful place in literature as it does in life, and it will never be obliterated, no matter what laws are passed to smother it.”
On Politicians: “One has to be a lowbrow, a bit of a murderer, to be a politician, ready and willing to see people sacrificed, slaughtered, for the sake of an idea, whether a good one or a bad one.”
On Politics: “Don’t ask me about politics. I’m against war. And I never voted in my life. But I’ll tell you one thing – I’m living with this hope: that the youngsters will get rid of all the old birds and wiseacres. In this country the ordinary man, you know, is dead inside before he’s 40. It’s not his fault. It’s the fault of mechanized things. There’s a lack of individuality. Everything is made for comfort and ease.”
On Joyce’s Ulysses: “There are passages of Ulysses which can be read only in the toilet – if one wants to extract the full flavor of their content. And this is not to denigrate the talent of the author. This is simply to move him a little closer to the good company of Abelard, Petrarch, Rabelais, Boccaccio – all the fine, lusty genuine spirits who recognized dung for dung and angels for angels.”
Henry Miller on Film: The Henry Miller Odyssey (full-length documentary with insights from Miller’s friends Lawrence Durrell, Anais Nin, Alfred Perles, Brassai, Lawrence Clark Powell, Joe Gray and Jakob Gimpel); Henry and June (notable as the first NC17 film, based on Nin’s famous diaries)
Place of Death: Big Sur, California
Final Resting Place: Ashes scattered off coast of Big Sur
CODA “It’s a distortion. Henry, Look at me! Look! You can’t see me or anyone as they are! I wanted Dostoyevsky!” —Henry & June, 1990
TROPIC OF CANCER TRIVIA
• Miller was 43 years old when Tropic of Cancer was first published in 1934 by Obelisk Press in Paris.
• Tropic of Cancer was finally published in the United States in 1964 after the Supreme Court ruled the book as not being obscene (Grove Press, Inc. vs. Gerstein).
• Ezra Pound on Tropic of Cancer: “At last, an unprintable book that’s readable.”
• Miller’s pet names for his second wife June’s breasts: Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
• George Orwell called Tropic of Cancer “the most important book of the mid-1930s.”
• Samuel Beckett referred to Tropic of Cancer as “a momentous event in the history of modern writing.”
Birthday: August 16, 1920
Birthplace: Andernach, Germany
Real Name: Henry Charles Bukowski
Parents: Henry Charles and Katharina [Fett] Bukowski
Description of Father: “[A] cruel shiny bastard with bad breath . . .”
Education: Attended Los Angeles City College, 1939-41
Work History: Manual worker in a dog biscuit factory, slaughterhouse, potato chip warehouse and various other dead-end jobs; Postal Carrier; Postal Clerk; Drunk
Medical History: Suffered from Acne Vulgaris, Hemorrhoids, Acute Alcoholism
Literary Influences: Conrad Aiken, Louis Ferdinand Celine (Journey to the End of the Night), Catullus, Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from the Underground), John Fante, Knut Hamsun (Hunger), Ernest Hemingway (early writings), Robinson Jeffers (long poems), James Thurber
Nonliterary Influence: Red Strange (aka Kid Red), a mentally ill tramp and derelict friend of Bukowski who wandered the highways and byways of America. Bukowski often plied Red with beer and encouraged him to relate his wildest stories, many of which ended up in Bukowski’s own poems and short stories.
Interests: Horse playing, classical music, fat whores
Alter Ego: Henry “Hank” Chinaski
Drug of Choice: Alcohol
Long-time Publisher: Black Sparrow Press (defunct)
On Solitude: “I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.” [Factotum, 1975]
On Work: “It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?” [Factotum, 1975]
On Skid Row: “Those guys down there [in skid row] had no problems with women, income tax, landlords, burial expenses, dentists, time payments, car repairs, or with climbing into a voting booth and pulling the curtain closed.” [Factotum, 1975]
On Rejection Slips: “And rejections are no hazard; they are better than gold. Just think what type of miserable cancer you would be today if all your works had been accepted.” [Letter to Jory Sherman, April 1, 1960, included in Screams from the Balcony, 1993]
First Published Short Story: “Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip,” March-April issue of Story magazine, 1944
On Short Stories: “I do not believe in writing a short story unless it crawls out of the walls. I watch the walls daily but very little happens.” [Letter to Ann Bauman, May 21, 1962, in Screams from the Balcony, 1993]
On Hemingway: “Hem had style and genius that went with it, for a little while, then he tottered, rotted, but was man enough, finally, and had style enough, finally.” [Letter to Neeli Cherry, 1962, in Screams from the Balcony, 1993]
On The Beat Generation: “Now, the original Beats, as much as they were knocked, had the Idea. But they were flanked and overwhelmed by fakes, guys with nicely clipped beards, lonely-hearts looking for free ass, limelighters, rhyming poets, homosexuals, bums, sightseers – the same thing that killed the Village. Art can’t operate in Crowds. Art does not belong at parties, nor does it belong at Inauguration Speeches.” [Letter to Jon Webb, 1962, in Screams from the Balcony, 1993]
First Book of Poetry: Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail, 1960 (shortly after the publication of this chapbook, Bukowski attempted suicide by gassing himself in his room, but quickly changed his mind . . .)
Post Office (1971)
Erections, Ejaculations and General Tales of Ordinary Madness (1972)
Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame (1974)
Love is a Dog from Hell (1977)
Dangling in the Tournefortia (1981)
Ham on Rye (1982)
War All the Time (1984)
On Drinking: “Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.” [Factotum, 1975]
On Personal Hygiene: “Nothing is worse than to finish a good shit, then reach over and find the toilet paper container empty. Even the most horrible human being on earth deserves to wipe his ass.” [Factotum, 1975]
Films Based on Work:
Tales of Ordinary Madness (1983 – Italian) – Director: Marco Ferreri. Starring: Ben Gazzara, Ornella Muti, Susan Tyrell, Tanya Lopert, Roy Brocksmith. Gazzara is severely miscast in this debacle based loosely on “The Most Beautiful Woman in Town.” Still worth at least one viewing.
Barfly (1987) – Director: Barbet Schroeder. Starring: Mickey Rourke, Faye Dunaway, Alice Krige, Jack “Eraserhead” Nance, J.C. Quinn, Frank Stallone. Bukowski wrote the screenplay for this cult classic based on his early experiences in skid row. He even appears in a cameo as one of the barflies.
Love is a Dog from Hell (1987 – Belgium) – Director: Dominique Deruddere. Starring: Geert Hunaerts, Josse De Pauw. Adapted from Bukowski short stories, mainly “The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, California.” Bukowski considered it the most faithful adaptation of his work. Also known as Crazy Love.
Walls in the City (1995) – Director: Jim Sikora. Starring: David Yow, Michael James, Tony Fitzpatrick, Paula Killen, Bill Cusack. Three short films based on Bukowski short stories about assorted barflies.
On Politics: “I used to lean slightly toward the liberal left but the crew that’s involved, in spite of the ideas, are a thin & grafted-like type of human, blank-eyed and throwing words like vomit.” [Letter to Tom McNamara, July 14, 1965, in Screams from the Balcony, 1993]
On Luck: “I’m one of those who doesn’t think there is much difference/between an atomic scientist and a man who cleans the crappers/except for the luck of the draw – /parents with enough money to point you toward a more/generous death./of course, some come through brilliantly, but/there are thousands, millions of others, bottled up, kept/from even the most minute chance to realize their potential.” [“Horsemeat” in War All the Time, 1984]
On Death: “I want to die with my head down on this/machine/3 lines from the bottom of the/page/burnt-out cigarette in my/fingers, radio still/playing/I just want to write/just well enough to/end like/that.” [“suggestion for an arrangement” in War All the Time, 1984]
Cause of Death: Leukemia
Date of Death: March 9, 1994
Final Resting Place: Green Hills Memorial Park, Palos Verdes, California
Epitaph: “Don’t Try”
His novel is at the top of the Amazon bestsellers list, nearly 90 years later after it was written. He’s widely considered one of America’s greatest novelists and his work has inspired writers ever since he was published. So then why is F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is more famously associated with places such as Paris, New York and the French Riviera, buried near a highway surrounded by concrete strip malls in Rockville, Maryland?
Beyond the train tracks, with glum office buildings in the backdrop beneath a gravestone that looks like any other, the celebrated novelist, although not in this case, is laid to rest with his wife Zelda. Most local commuters that pass the cemetery probably aren’t even aware that the author is buried there. The only thing about Fitzgerald’s grave that would attract anyone’s attention would be the unusual items occasionally placed on it by visitors– bottles of alcohol and coins; the two things he needed the most before he died.
F. Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in 1940 in Hollywood California at his lover’s apartment. At the time he was utterly broke and considered himself a failure. Years of excessive drinking since his college years had left him in poor health and after the Great Depression, readers nor publishers were interested in stories of the glitzy Jazz Age. By the time of his death, you would be lucky to find a copy of The Great Gatsby on bookstore shelves. Because of his adulterous relationship and the notorious lifestyle he was known to have lived, F. Scott was considered a non practicing Catholic and denied the right to be buried on the family plot. Only around 25 people attended the rainy funeral at Rockville Union Cemetary and the Protestant minister who performed the ceremony allegedly had never ever heard of him. Almost as if it had been foreshadowed in the book, Fitzgerald’s sadly unsensational farewell was in fact very similar to that of his description of his own character’s funeral, Jay Gatsby.
The day for Gatsby’s funeral arrives and the attendees include myself, Gatsby’s father, Owl Eyes, and Gatsby’s servants. How could a man of such status have such a pathetic and depressing last farewell?
–The Great Gatsby
It wasn’t until 35 years later that Catholic St. Mary’s cemetery just up the road, accepted both the Fitzgeralds into the family plot you see pictured here (Zelda later died in a fire in 1948 and was buried with him), a small step up from the forgotten grave at the Rockville Union cemetery.
The stone lifts a quote from his famous novel with his full name inscribed, Francis Scott Key, the name he was given after a distant relative and Maryland native, who also happened to be the author who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
As the highly anticipated new film adaptation hits cinemas this month, the Reverend Monsignor Amey of St. Mary’s Catholic Church tells the post that the gravesite has been receiving more visitors than usual. “We usually see a handful of people visiting the cemetery in a given week … That number has tripled in the last week,” he told the Washington Post. “Aspiring authors leave pens, and admirers occasionally write handwritten notes. A top hat, adorned with a martini glass ribbon, is the most recent addition.”
Perhaps some of that box-office money should go towards giving this great American writer the resting place he deserves?
Information on Visiting Fitzgerald’s Grave Here
15 HUNTER S. THOMPSON QUOTES TO START YOUR WEEK
POSTED ON 7/28/14
Good luck finding any photographs of Hunter S. Thompson without a cigarette or a drink. Thompson, a visionary and leader in snark whose commentary was often laced with excessive drug use, reinvented journalism 40 years ago and managed to stay relevant until the day he put a bullet in his head in 2005. The drug use was fuel for a highly-specific voice that can often be recognized in a single sentence—his entire Richard M. Nixon obit can be found here, which you’ll find featured in No. 15 below.
These quotes cover everything from politics to ether, and, to an extent, show us how the great Gonzo viewed the world. The beauty of it all, though, is that we’ll never really understand how he viewed the world. Probably how he preferred it.
Bill Boggs Interviews Tennessee Williams
“It’s an honor to have this great American Playwright in my archives. This interview came to be because Tennessee’s agent was a friend of mine and he actually offered to have his client do the program. It was a big day at the station, and after the interview we all went out to lunch together. An odd footnote is that three days after doing this interview I ran into Tennessee at a party in New York and he did not remember me. That aside, in this interview Tennessee reads one of his favorite poets, Hart Crane. This is a memorable literary moment.”—Bill Boggs
THE GLASS MENAGERIE- ENTIRE PLAY
“A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE”
“THE GLASS MENAGERIE”
Playwright Tennessee Williams was born on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi. After college, he moved to New Orleans, a city that would inspire much of his writing. On March 31, 1945, his play, The Glass Menagerie, opened on Broadway and two years later A Streetcar Named Desire earned Williams his first Pulitzer Prize. Many of Williams’ plays have been adapted to film starring screen greats like Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. Williams died in 1983.
Playwright Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi, the second of Cornelius and Edwina Williams’ three children. Raised predominantly by his mother, Williams had a complicated relationship with his father, a demanding salesman who preferred work instead of parenting.
Williams described his childhood in Mississippi as pleasant and happy. But life changed for him when his family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. The carefree nature of his boyhood was stripped in his new urban home, and as a result Williams turned inward and started to write.
His parent’s marriage certainly didn’t help. Often strained, the Williams home could be a tense place to live. “It was just a wrong marriage,” Williams later wrote. The family situation, however, did offer fuel for the playwright’s art. His mother became the model for the foolish but strong Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, while his father represented the aggressive, driving Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
In 1929, Williams enrolled at the University of Missouri to study journalism. But he was soon withdrawn from the school by his father, who became incensed when he learned that his son’s girlfriend was also attending the university.
Deeply despondent, Williams retreated home, and at his father’s urging took a job as a sales clerk with a shoe company. The future playwright hated the position, and again he turned to his writing, crafting poems and stories after work. Eventually, however, the depression took its toll and Williams suffered a nervous breakdown.
After recuperating in Memphis, Williams returned to St. Louis and where he connected with several poets studying at Washington University. In 1937 returned to college, enrolling at the University of Iowa. He graduated the following year.
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When he was 28, Williams moved to New Orleans, where he changed his name (he landed on Tennessee because his father hailed from there) and revamped his lifestyle, soaking up the city life that would inspire his work, most notably the later play, A Streetcar Named Desire.
He proved to be a prolific writer and one of his plays, earned him $100 from the Group Theater writing contest. More importantly, it landed him an agent, Audrey Wood, who would become his friend and adviser.
In 1940 Williams’ play, Battle of Angels, debuted in Boston. It quickly flopped, but the hardworking Williams revised it and brought it back as Orpheus Descending, which later was made into the movie, The Fugitive Kind, starring Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani.
Other work followed, including a gig writing scripts for MGM. But Williams’ mind was never far from the stage. On March 31, 1945, a play he’d been working for some years, The Glass Menagerie, opened on Broadway.
Critics and audiences alike lauded the play, about a declassed Southern family living in a tenement, forever changing Williams’ life and fortunes. Two years later, A Streetcar Named Desire, opened, surpassing his previous success and cementing his status as one of the country’s best playwrights. The play also earned Williams a Drama Critics’ Award and his first Pulitzer Prize.
His subsequent work brought more praise. The hits from this period includedCamino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Sweet Bird of Youth.
The 1960s were a difficult time for Williams. His work received poor reviews and increasingly the playwright turned to alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms. In 1969 his brother hospitalized him.
Upon his release, Williams got right back to work. He churned out several new plays as well as Memoirs in 1975, which told the story of his life and his afflictions.
But he never fully escaped his demons. Surrounded by bottles of wine and pills, Williams died in a New York City hotel room on February 25, 1983.
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