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Dear Coach: Jack Kerouac to Timothy Leary

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Dear Coach: Jack Kerouac to Timothy Leary

The following missives decribe Kerouac’s reaction to the magic mushroom extract, taken the day President Kennedy was inaugurated. The first, a postcard, is in the form of a brief poem, and there then followed a letter more descriptive of the experience.

Dear Leery

By God you were Right
  Why did Donlin send you 
              Or was it Newman?
                Joy the 23rd Loves you I guess
                      I mean if He knew you
                         Not that He is spellt with 
                                 Capital Letters
                                             Like in Blake
                                             
                         But bless you   (later)
                         Jack Kerouac
                         
“Dear Tim (coach)
I wrote yo stupid drunken letter, I mean postcard, addressed to Harvard Psychology Dept. which you may get. But Allen reminds me you want notes on my reaction to Sacred Mushroomsextract. Why not I make it in the form of a letter, here and now, without planning, and you can extract what you need for your article and researches. (Allen also suggested I send you my notes on Mescaline but I only have one copy now, will type it later for you, but in any case Mescaline is not the same as mushrooms, as you know)You say that Montezuma was high on sacred mushrooms andtherefore did not resist Cortez but I don’t think that wasthe whole story, because under mushrooms I felt myself more in the mood for self-defense than I am usually (because of a vow of kindness in the spirit of Buddhism made soberly years ago,and also old teachings of sacred young brother who died in 1926). No, in fact on mushrooms I feltqutie strong, quite angry in fact at the atheists for fighting Christianity (communism so-called vs. capitalism so-called, it says in the paper, but it’s really atheism vs. gnosticism.) (right?)Mainly I felt like a floating Kahn on a magic carpet with my interesting lieutenants and gods… some ancient feeling about old geheuls in the grass, and temples, exactly also like the sensation I got drunk on pulque floating in the Xochimilco gardens on barges laden with flowers and singers… some old Golden Age dream of man, very nice. But that is the element of hallucination in this acid called mushrooms (Amanita?) The bad physical side-effects involved (for me) stiffening of elbow and knee joints, a swelling of the eyelid, shortness of breath or rather anxiety about breathing itself. No heart palpitations like in mescaline, however. I felt that Donlin was asking for too many ‘fives’ all the time (in the trade they’d say he has an oil-burning habit, or is a “hog”)—But under the sympathetic influence of the drug or whatever it is called I kept agreeing with all his demands. In that sense there’s a lot of brainwash implicit in SM’s. So I do think we took too much. Yet there were no evil side effects.In fact I came home and had the first serious long talk with my mother, for 3 days and 3 nights (not consecutive) but we sat talking about everything yet went about the routine of washing, sleeping, eating, cleaning up the yard and house, and returning to long talk chairs at proper time. That was great. I learned I loved her more than I thought. The mushroom high carried on for exactly till wednesday Jan. 18th (and remember I first chewed the first pills Friday night the 13th). I kept it alive by drinking Christian Brothers port on the rocks. Suddenly on Friday the 20th (day of Inauguration) it started all up again, on port, but very mushroomy, and that was a swinging day, yakking in bars, bookstores, homes around northport (which I never do).

My report is endless, exactly. But here, remember what we were saying? “What? What did you say?” (to have a mumble repeated, the mumble being of excruciating importance.) And “Who are you?” “Are you sure?” “I’m not here.” — “What are we doing here?”— “Where are we?”—- “What’s going on?”—“Am I going to die?” — “No” — “I can’t see you, you’re a ghost” — “You’re the Holy Ghost” — “walking on water wasn’t built in a day” — “We’re just laying around here doing nothin” — “Even if I knew how to break your leg (utilizing Zen koan about Baso (T’ang master d. 788)) “even if I knew how to break your leg I wouldn’t do it?— besides you haven’t got a leg. Who said you had a leg? You? Who are you? I can’t see you? You’re not there! I don’t see nuttin! I hate you! Why? Because I love you!” “I love you anyway.”

We were at the extremest point of goofing on clouds watching the movie of existence. remember?)

Owing to the residue of Sacred Mushroom hallucination I woke up briefly the other quiet morning (Thursday 19th) feeling that everybody in my neighborhood was sleeping trustfully around me because they knew I was the Master of Trust in Heaven (for instance).

Everybody seemed innocent. Ladcadio became St. Innocent the Patriarch of Holy Russia. Donlin became the Paraclete, whom you waved over my head by an astounding show of physical strength (remember?) It was a defninite Satori. Full of psychic clairvoyance (but you must remember that this is not half as good as the peaceful ecstacy of simple Samadhi trance as I described that in Dharma Bums). When I yelled out the window at the three Porto Rican teenage boys walking in the snow “Avante Con Dios!” I had no idea where the word “avante” came from, Allen said it meant “forward with.” Clairvoyance there. I saw you, Leary, as a Jesuit Father. Donlin called you Doctor Leary. I saw Allen as Sariputra (the Indian saint). My old idea of St. Peter (about Peter Orlovsky) was strengthened. I saw Peter’s sister Marie as Ste. Catherine. Bob Kaufman as a Michoacan Indian chief. I saw Communists all around us (especially that Ben Rosenbluth, and others). Pearl became a Lotus of indescribable beauty sitting there in the form of a Buddha woman Bhikkushini. When someone mentioned people being electricity I said “Consolidated Coils.” Divine run-outs in my head, like when I went to pee I said to the toilet “It’s all your fault!” and could never leave the group without feeling that they were still with me (in the toilet.) Finally told my mother “C’est la Sainte Esprit” and she agreed. My old conviction that nothing ever happened was strengthened (ow). I felt like a silly agnel (angel) but now I know I’m only a mutterer in old paths, as before. I kept saying, however, to all kinds of people “What an interesting person you are!” and it was true. Finally I said “I think I’ll take a shit out the window” in desperation, it was impossible to go on in such ecstasy and excitement. Jokes were the Sacred Jokes of Heaven. The low dog of Dublin, Bob Donlin, was there by design, I’d say, to keep the good old Irish jokes going, otherwise we would all have been too serious, I say.

In sum, also, there is temporary addiction but no withdrawl symptoms whatever. The faculty of remembering names and what one has learned, is heightened so fantastically that we could develop the greatest scholars and scientists in the world with this stuff. (By the way, does Wm. Lederer the stuttering genius at Harvard, take it?) (He stutters with a method, most eerie). There’s no harm in Sacred Mushrooms if taken in moderation as a rule and much good will come of it. (For instance, I remembered historical details I’d completely forgotten before the mushrooms, and names names millions of names and categories and data.

well okay
Touch football sometime?
Jack

levity.com

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Hunter S. Thompson on Outlaws | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios

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About That Time #Hunter S. Thompson Joined Hells Angels, For Journalism

Edgy animation memorializes Studs Terkel’s interview with the great Hunter S. Thompson.

Hunter S. Thompson on Outlaws | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios

https://youtu.be/P3QoKqEHS8s

Few figures rank above Studs Terkel and Hunter S. Thompson in the pantheon of American journalism greats. So what, exactly, could be better than Terkel interviewing Thompson? Oh, that’s right: Terkel interviewing Thompson about his time studying the Hells Angels.

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Not to mention a wry cartoon animation of the interview from the PBS web series “Blank on Blank,” which debuted Tuesday. The old-school illustrations capture Thompson’s self-deprecating yet hardbitten tone, as he reveals details about his time with the Hells Angels, and lessons he learned from getting repeatedly “stomped.”

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Terkel conducted a radio interview with Thompson in 1967, as Thompson was poised to take off as a superstar of gonzo journalism. He had just written Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga, a book that stemmed from a breakout article he’d contributed to The Nation magazine.

“Hunter Thompson, our guest, is a new kind of journalist,” Terkel said upon introducing him. “The journalist who is not detached […] in fact he was almost an honorary member, or a dishonored member of the the Oakland Hells Angels.”

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Thompson speaks sympathetically about the Hells Angels, without whitewashing their violent predilections. “I think the Angels came out of World War Two,” he posits to Terkel. “This whole kind of alienated, violent, subculture of people wandering around looking for either an opportunity, or if not an opportunity then vengeance for not getting an opportunity.”

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Though he ruefully recalls falling victim to “bylaw number 10 or 11 […] ‘When an Angel punches a non-Angel all other Angels will participate'” — apparently he once made the fatal mistake of giving a member a hard time for beating his wife — Thompson even sees himself in the frustrated bikers. He confesses to a tendency toward throwing “beer bottles into bar mirrors” and admits enjoying the visceral rush he found in speeding down the highway on a powerful motorcycle.

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Thompson only sped down the open road with the Hells Angels for around a year, but he told Terkel he learned about broader society during that time. “I wouldn’t just call Hells Angels in Oakland the only violent part of our society,” he said. “The Angels reflect not only the lower segments of the society but the higher, where violence takes a much more sophisticated and respectable form.”

He wasn’t just referring to easy marks, like political wheeler and dealer Lyndon B. Johnson, whom he named as having great Hells Angel potential. “I learned a lot about myself just writing about the Angels,” he admitted. “I was seeing a very ugly side of myself a lot of times.”

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In the mid-Sixties, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson spent about a year with the world’s most notorious biker gang to write the book Hell’s Angels, which came out in 1967. He spoke with radio broadcaster Studs Terkel that year for an interview that PBS has now animated whimsically for its Blank on Blank series.

“The Angels claim that they don’t look for trouble,” Thompson said in the interview. “They just try to live peaceful lives and be left alone, but on the other hand they go out and put themselves into situations deliberately and constantly that are either going to humiliate somebody else or cause them to avoid humiliation by fighting.”

But he went on to question their desire for peace, explaining that one of the gang’s bylaws stipulated that “when an Angel punches a non-Angel, all other Angels will participate.” He also said that he was on the receiving end of their wrath. “All during this stomping, I could see the guy who had originally teed off on me that just out of nowhere, with no warning, circling around with a rock [that] must have weighed about 20 pounds,” the journalist said. “I tried to keep my eyes on him because I didn’t want to have my skull fractured.”

Later in the interview, Thompson confided that, like the Angels’ claims, he was then trying to keep a peaceful existence – for his own safety. “I keep my mouth shut now,” he said. “I’ve turned into a professional coward.”

The year Hell’s Angels hit bookstore shelves, the first issue of Rolling Stone also came out. Thompson would go on to become one of the magazine’s most venerated contributors, penning “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and covering everything from the Nixon-McGovern presidential campaigns in 1972 to Bill Clinton 20 years later for the magazine. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2005. An online archive of his Rolling Stone writing is available here.

Blank on Blank animates archival interviews with musicians, actors and other notable people. Recent installments have included Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Tupac Shakur and Jim Morrison.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/see-hunter-s-thompson-talk-hells-angels-in-newly-animated-interview-20150728#ixzz3hPHTeXzX
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

A Letter from #Hunter S. Thompson that Changed My Life

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A Letter from Hunter S. #Thompson that Changed My Life

Posted On 25 Jun 2015
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Hunter S. Thompson

Roughly 57 years ago, a 22-year-old Hunter S. Thompson wrote a letter to a friend that had asked him for advice. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a big deal – 57 years ago letters were just how people communicated. What stands out to me is the fact that Thompson wrote this letter way before anyone really knew who he was. The letter, in my opinion, is a pure statement of faith, written by one of the most influential writers of our time, solely for the purpose of helping his friend. I know the letter wasn’t written to me, but I still read it like it was.

April 22, 1958
57 Perry Street
New York City

Dear Hume,

You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal — to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

I am not a fool, but I respect your sincerity in asking my advice. I ask you though, in listening to what I say, to remember that all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it. What is truth to one may be disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles … ” (Shakespeare)

And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

But why not float if you have no goal? That is another question. It is unquestionably better to enjoy the floating than to swim in uncertainty. So how does a man find a goal? Not a castle in the stars, but a real and tangible thing. How can a man be sure he’s not after the “big rock candy mountain,” the enticing sugar-candy goal that has little taste and no substance?

The answer — and, in a sense, the tragedy of life — is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.

So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?

The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all, or not with tangible goals, anyway. It would take reams of paper to develop this subject to fulfillment. God only knows how many books have been written on “the meaning of man” and that sort of thing, and god only knows how many people have pondered the subject. (I use the term “god only knows” purely as an expression.) There’s very little sense in my trying to give it up to you in the proverbial nutshell, because I’m the first to admit my absolute lack of qualifications for reducing the meaning of life to one or two paragraphs.

I’m going to steer clear of the word “existentialism,” but you might keep it in mind as a key of sorts. You might also try something called “Being and Nothingness” by Jean-Paul Sartre, and another little thing called “Existentialism: From Dostoyevsky to Sartre.” These are merely suggestions. If you’re genuinely satisfied with what you are and what you’re doing, then give those books a wide berth. (Let sleeping dogs lie.) But back to the answer. As I said, to put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.

But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors — but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal. In every man, heredity and environment have combined to produce a creature of certain abilities and desires — including a deeply ingrained need to function in such a way that his life will be MEANINGFUL. A man has to BE something; he has to matter.

As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal), he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.

Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN — and here is the essence of all I’ve said — you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH.

Naturally, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ve lived a relatively narrow life, a vertical rather than a horizontal existence. So it isn’t any too difficult to understand why you seem to feel the way you do. But a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”

And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know — is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.

If I don’t call this to a halt, I’m going to find myself writing a book. I hope it’s not as confusing as it looks at first glance. Keep in mind, of course, that this is MY WAY of looking at things. I happen to think that it’s pretty generally applicable, but you may not. Each of us has to create our own credo — this merely happens to be mine.

If any part of it doesn’t seem to make sense, by all means call it to my attention. I’m not trying to send you out “on the road” in search of Valhalla, but merely pointing out that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it. There is more to it than that — no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. But then again, if that’s what you wind up doing, by all means convince yourself that you HAD to do it. You’ll have lots of company.

And that’s it for now. Until I hear from you again, I remain,

your friend,

Hunter

The Belles of Picardy and more by V. Alarcon Cordoba

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Joaquín doesn’t live here anymore . . .

I

“… he died of the Vietnam War

from drug and alcohol abuse.” — it’s what I tell
whoever still asks about my brother
Joaquín


I remember Joaquín
he used to fill my head with stories
about days he’d spent on furlough
in the summer of ’67
in San Francisco
while recuperating from two broken legs
at Treasure Island Naval Base hospital

he described in foggy detail the Haight-Ashbury
the Fillmore
how he’d watched Eric Burton
who was a regular then
tripping on acid
singing blindfolded
daring himself to not walk off
the edge of the stage

he also introduced me to his Missouri Meerschaum
a yellow corn-cob
with a tortoise-shell colored plastic mouthpiece
and the small bag of Vietnamese
he had smuggled
from his tour of duty in ‘Nam

my thoughts
suddenly
a stream of moving pictures
thoughts
dreamed

I closed my eyes
and in an instant
opened them

the bohemian . . .

… painting the pages

The Belles of Picardy

I

… during
the Vietnam War
I became a conscientious objector

I looked with horror
at photographs of overcrowded cemeteries
with no room left to bury the dead

tombstones lined up shoulder to shoulder
on the landscape of Europe
like soldiers marching to their death

I remember
the photograph
of my father in uniform
bringing to mind that he had indeed
been one of the lucky ones
who had made it back in one piece
from the Pacific Theatre

in my head I heard bells tolling
hammering to the beat of foot marches
an anthem to the dead

and to my brother
who was yet to die the slow death
of Vietnam’s lingering poison

I called it
The Belles of Picardy
an imaginary war march sung by the nymphs
that beckon soldiers

from every cathedral bell tower
in every corner of the world
to the Fields of Flanders
Dunkirk
Da’nang
Iraq
Iran
–hell

coda:
(for years I had watched the dismal gray theater of Eastern Europe
never realizing that what they depicted could one day come true)

the bohemian . . .

… painting the pages

ABOUT V. ALARCON CORDOBA  -VISIT HIS TERRIFIC BLOG  –  the bohemian  @  https://alarconvictor.wordpress.com

I am a writer of poems, short stories and existential fantasies. My writings should be read as lyric paintings—theater of the mind (to borrow a phrase from Eugene O’Neill). They are better viewed as pictures rather than verse—the vivid blue of a Paris street illuminated by a harvest moon and a lovers’ quarrel at 3 o’clock in the morning, or the sunlit yellows of a Kansas wheat field in a rolling epic of the American West.

They are fiction, but filled with the realization that one will eventually wake from the dreams of childhood. But those dreams, though doused, are never fully extinguished. Life is change. Life goes on. Dreams remain forever. Find your dreams.

Have you ever found yourself caught in a trap so subtle you wonder how you ever got there in the first place? Have you ever needed to get out of a situation, but were too enticed by desire to leave? In Flatland – A Modern Southwest Adventure Icarus Dade finds himself in the grip of just such a web of intrigue.

When a railroad accident in the Four Corners region of the New Mexico desert leaves him stranded, Icarus finds life much more complicated than he could have imagined. Follow along as he becomes entangled in a seemingly inescapable net of love, corruption and betrayal in the double-dealing small town justice of Flatland.


Now available at the following:

Amazon.com

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eBookMall

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

mother and Jack Kerouac

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 mother and Jack Kerouac

jack

Reading their love letters from before I was born is an eerie experience.

My mother met Jack Kerouac on a blind date arranged by Allen Ginsberg. It was January 1957. Kerouac at the time was penniless, 34 years old, burned out from frantic world wandering. My mother, Joyce Johnson, then 21, worked in book publishing as she slowly wrote and revised her first novel. Years later, in his novel “Desolation Angels,” Kerouac called her “an interesting young person, a Jewess, elegant, middleclass sad and looking for something.” He also wrote, “I still love her tonight.”

The correspondence between them, collected in the new book “Door Wide Open,” starts a few months after that first meeting, when Kerouac characteristically splits for Africa, then San Francisco, Mexico City and Florida. As he speeds from place to place, he sometimes asks my mother to join him, then abruptly changes his mind. “I admit I’m flipping and am bugged everywhere I go,” he writes from Berkeley, Calif., distraught as each new place offers no refuge, no vibration, no new vision.

When “On the Road” was published late that year, the Beats quickly went from underground cult to mainstream clichi. But the success of “On the Road” only increased Kerouac’s sense of isolation and despair, hastening his desertion from the cultural revolution he helped to invent. In the letters, he comes across as a mad, ruined genius, swinging between the “starrynight exstasies” of his writing binges and the squalid excesses of his alcoholic binges.

My mother’s letters radiate precocious self-awareness and tenderness. She seeks to lure Kerouac closer without frightening him away with any hint of commitment, and she also tries to dissuade him from his “desperate, gluttonous drinking,” his bitterness and the other demons that threaten to destroy him. “I remember the first party we went to last Fall,” she writes. “You said, ‘Protect me,’ and I wanted to with all my heart, but didn’t do a very good job, having all my old shynesses and especially my strange shyness of you.”

I feel a kind of shyness approaching these documents. My mother’s relationship with Kerouac ended six years before she met my father, painter Peter Pinchbeck, and eight years before my birth. There is something eerie about reading a parent’s early love letters; it gives you a vertiginous glimpse into the accidental processes that led to your own creation. Covering a span of less than two years, the letters not only suggest huge worlds of possibility that my mother could have lived, they also make me aware of the various ways these distant events shaped my own consciousness.

MY COLLAGED COUNTRY GUITAR

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Ana’s GuitarThis is my friend Ana’s Guitar.

Ana is a Poet who, some years ago, went travelling through Nashville, Tennessee collecting and patching memorabilia to this guitar. The arm sticking out from the bottom of the photo is Mr. Howdy Doody’s Puppet!

If you view this in larger size you can read the details on leaflets.

You can view this in Large here;

www.flickr.com/photos/26562546@N02/15929077150/sizes/o/

COOL PEOPLE – ERNEST HEMINGWAY DOCUMENTARY AND IN CUBA 1952

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download (38)

Documentary on Ernest Hemingway The Writers Block Library

http://youtu.be/mv5ewz4YE1g

 Hemingway in Cuba, 1952: Portrait of a Legend in DeclineBen Cosgrove

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That Ernest Hemingway was, for years, the most celebrated writer in America is hardly surprising. After all, if he had written nothing besides, say, The Sun Also Rises, the early collection, In Our Time, and the superlative“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,”he would still be an indispensable American writer. The preposterous literary myth that Hemingway himself created and nurtured, meanwhile—that of the brawling, hard-drinking, thrill-seeking sportsman who is also an uncompromising, soulful artist—ensured that generations of writers would not merely revere him, but (often to their abiding detriment) would also try to emulate him.

So . . . despite what countless acolytes might claim, Hemingway was not the greatest American writer of the 20th century. He was, however—and more than five decades after his death, he remains—the single most influential, most parodied, most prominent, most immenseAmerican author of the past 100 years.

Incredibly, one of Hemingway’s most highly regarded novels, the short masterpiece, The Old Man and the Sea, was first published, in its entirety, in a single issue of LIFE magazine in September 1952.

At the time, Hemingway was—if we might employ an apt metaphor for a man who fairly worshiped machismo—the heavyweight champ of American letters. Even if his productivity had waned, and even if the searing brilliance that defined seemingly every story and novel of his early years had, by 1952, been reduced to an occasional flare of the old genius, “Papa” was still a cultural force to be reckoned with.

(A mere two years before, John O’Hara, in a New York Times review of the novel, Across the River and Into the Trees, had gone a bit overboard, calling Hemingway “the most important author living today, the outstanding author since the death of Shakespeare.” But such was the shadow he cast.)

Warranted or not, the hubbub that attended Hemingway turned any new story or, better yet, new book into a publishing event; the Old Man and the Sea LIFE issue, to absolutely no one’s surprise, was an enormous success, selling millions of newsstand copies in a matter of days. The novel itself earned Hemingway his first and only Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and remains among his most widely read works.

And yet, as anyone who has indulged an even casual interest in his career knows, by the early 1950s Hemingway’ private world was one increasingly defined not by protean artistic achievements, but by rivers of booze; bewilderment at his own diminishing powers as a writer; depression and even rage at his failing, once-indomitable health—in short, by a host of personal, relentless demons. The larger-than-life figure who prized “grace under pressure” above all other attributes was besieged; in less than a decade, his demons would drive him to suicide by shotgun.

 All of this helps explain why, when LIFE’s Alfred Eisensstaedt went to Cuba to photograph Hemingway for the September 1952 issue, he encountered not a gracious, if perhaps prickly, fellow artist and man of letters, but a thoroughly disagreeable, paranoid, booze-sodden lunatic.

Eisenstaedt was able, eventually, to capture a few usable images of the middle-aged man who was soon be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His cover photo of Hemingway, in fact, is something of a classic: a riveting portrait of a no-longer-young, still-formidable literary lion.

But the experience of trying to photograph the 52-year-old writer, as Eisenstaedt recalled years later in an interview with historian Alex Groner, was a stressful and at times even frightening misadventure.

Hemingway, Eisenstaedt wonderingly noted, drank from the moment he awoke until the time he went to bed, with a lackey constantly plying him with booze; obsessed over his virility (sometimes literally pounding his chest, “like King Kong,” to illustrate that, while perhaps diminished, he was still a man to whom attention must be paid); erupted into violent rages over minor slights, both real and imagined; rarely spoke a sentence, to anyone, that wasn’t peppered with obscenities; and generally behaved like a buffoon.

Words and phrases that crop up repeatedly in Eisenstaedt’s reminiscences include “crazy,” “berserk,” “wild,” “insulting,” “drunk,” and “blue in the face.” Eisenstaedt found very few moments when he could take—or when Hemingway would allow him to take—usable photos. More than once, the gregarious, easy-going Eisie, who by all accounts got along famously with virtually everyone he met, went off by himself to photograph quieter scenes on the island, hoping the writer might calm down enough so that he might make a few worthwhile pictures.

“He was,” Eisenstaedt once said of Hemingway, “the most difficult man I ever photographed.” Coming from a man who was a professional photographer across seven decades—someone who photographed presidents, emperors, socially awkward scientists, testy athletes, egomaniac actors, insecure actresses and once, famously, a scowling and goblin-like Nazi minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels—coming from Eisenstaedt, that bald assertion about Hemingway is striking, and sadly revealing. And it’s especially sad in light of the effort that Eisenstaedt evidently put into trying tolike Hemingway.

Throughout his interview with Groner, for example, Eisenstaedt repeatedly, almost wistfully, refers to the man he went to Cuba to photograph—the man who thwarted his efforts at almost every turn—as “Papa.” It’s almost as if, years later, recounting his tumultuous dealings with the author, Eisenstaedt refers to Hemingway by his famous, companionable nickname in the vain hope of summoning something about the man that he can recall with fondness.

Ernest Hemingway was a major writer. Not everything he wrote was great; but some of what he wrote was as good as anything ever written by an American, and a handful of his works are, by common assent, vital and groundbreaking landmarks in world literature.

This gallery serves as both a tribute to Hemingway’s achievements, and a reminder of the haunting truth that when they fall, great men fall very, very far indeed.

Ben Cosgrove is the Editor of LIFE.com

COOL PEOPLE— D.H. LAWRENCE

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I am in love – and, my God, it is the greatest thing that can happen to a man. I tell you, find a woman you can fall in love with. Do it. Let yourself fall in love. If you have not done so already, you are wasting your life.

— D.H. Lawrence

http://www.nerve.com/regulars/jacksnaughtybits/12-27-99

excerpt from LADY CHATTERLEY

D.H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence Biography

D.H. Lawrence
I am in love – and, my God, it is the greatest thing that can happen to a man. I tell you, find a woman you can fall in love with. Do it. Let yourself fall in love. If you have not done so already, you are wasting your life.

— D.H. Lawrence
Poet, Playwright, Author, Journalist (1885–1930)
D.H. Lawrence is best known for his infamous novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which was banned in the United States until 1959, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.
Born in England on September 11, 1885, D.H. Lawrence is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Lawrence published many novels and poetry volumes during his lifetime, including Sons and Lovers and Women in Love, but is best known for his infamous novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The graphic and highly sexual novel was published in Italy in 1928, but was banned in the United States until 1959, and banned in England until 1960. Garnering fame for his novels and short stories early into his career, Lawrence later received acclaim for his personal letters, in which he detailed a range of emotions, from exhilaration to depression to prophetic brooding. He died in France in 1930.Early Life
Author D.H. Lawrence, regarded today as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, was born David Herbert Lawrence on September 11, 1885, on the Haggs Farm in the small mining town of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England. His father, Arthur John Lawrence, was a coal miner, and his mother, Lydia Lawrence, worked in the lace-making industry to supplement the family income. Lawrence’s mother was from a middle-class family that had fallen into financial ruin, but not before she had become well-educated and a great lover of literature. She instilled in young D.H. Lawrence a love of books and a strong desire to rise above his blue-collar beginnings.Lawrence’s hardscrabble, working-class upbringing made a strong impression on him, and he later wrote extensively about the experience of growing up in a poor mining town. “Whatever I forget,” he later said, “I shall not forget the Haggs, a tiny red brick farm on the edge of the wood, where I got my first incentive to write.”As a child, D.H. Lawrence often struggled to fit in with other boys. He was physically frail and frequently susceptible to illness, a condition exacerbated by the dirty air of a town surrounded by coal pits. He was poor at sports and, unlike nearly every other boy in town, had no desire to follow in his father’s footsteps as a miner. However, he was an excellent student and in 1897, at the age of 12, he became the first boy in Eastwood’s history to win a scholarship to Nottingham High School. At Nottingham, Lawrence once again struggled to make friends. He often fell ill and grew depressed and lethargic in his studies, graduating in 1901 having made little academic impression. Reflecting back on his childhood, Lawrence said, “If I think of my childhood it is always as if there was a sort of inner darkness, like the gloss of coal in which we moved and had our being.”In the summer of 1901, Lawrence took a job as a factory clerk for a Nottingham surgical appliances manufacturer called Haywoods. However, that autumn, his older brother William suddenly fell ill and died, and in his grief, Lawrence also came down with a bad case of pneumonia. After recovering, he began working as a student teacher at the British School in Eastwood, where he met a young woman named Jessie Chambers who became his close friend and intellectual companion. At her encouragement, he began writing poetry and also started drafting his first novel, which would eventually become The White Peacock.

CULTURED TRAVELER

D.H. Lawrence’s New Mexico: The Ghosts That Grip the Soul of Bohemian Taos

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/22/travel/22culture.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

THE TRIAL-LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER

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http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/oct/22/dh-lawrence-lady-chatterley-trial

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COOL PEOPLE – Rare Steinbeck WWII story finally published

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Rare Steinbeck WWII story finally published

Associated Press

FILE - In an undated file photo, American author John Steinbeck, takes a rest from work on a new novel. A rare Steinbeck WWII story titled "With Your Wings," an inspirational story about a black pilot that Steinbeck wrote for Orson Welles' radio program, and then seemed to disappear, is getting a second release. Andrew F. Gulli, managing editor of the Birmingham, Michigan-based quarterly The Strand Magazine, features it in The Strand's holiday issue, which comes out Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. (AP Photo. File)
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FILE – In an undated file photo, American author John Steinbeck, takes a rest from work on a new novel. A rare Steinbeck WWII story titled “With Your Wings,” an inspirational story about a black pilot that Steinbeck wrote for Orson Welles’ radio program, and then seemed to disappear, is getting a second release. Andrew F. Gulli, managing editor of the Birmingham, Michigan-based quarterly The Strand Magazine, features it in The Strand’s holiday issue, which comes out Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. (AP Photo. File)
 NEW YORK (AP) — In July 1944, Orson Welles wrapped up one of his wartime radio broadcasts with a brief, emotional reading of one of the country’s favorite authors, John Steinbeck.
The piece was titled “With Your Wings,” an inspirational story about a black pilot that Steinbeck wrote for Welles’ program, and it seemed to disappear almost as soon as it was aired. There are no records of “With Your Wings” appearing in book or magazine form. Even some Steinbeck experts, including scholar Susan Shillinglaw and antiquarian James Dourgarian, know little about it.

“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 .

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