It’s said that Hunter S. Thompson banged out F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby on his typewriter over and over again just to get a feeling for his writing, to get a flow to the music of his prose. Many writers worth a damn write every day, just for the pure joy of the exercise and to feel the colors of the mind finding their way onto the page.
I think it has something to do with passion. The desire to do something over all things because that action or activity shouts in one’s ear until it gets done, will of the will itself; joy of being that gets something done.
What happens when that fire goes untended, when another act muscles its way into a flow? Work for money and survival, even in a cushy, overfed land like America, has a way of insinuating itself into the warp and weft of consciousness. And by damn, it’s a lot like yanking a length of barbed wire from the trunk of a tree grown to close to the fence; sometimes it’s not worth the effort of wrestling the wire, it’s just fine to cut both ends.
Thompson was a great writer for quite a while, a man who slung himself into the machine with both barrels ablaze. That practice paid off, even if it was for a purpose other than what he intended. While he clacked away at that keyboard with the words of ‘Gatsby’ channeling through him; in his soul,Thompson found a purpose, a passion, a joy and finally, a vocation: to write the underbelly of society. To cast light on the edge and bring its bright, unseemly vision back from to the dead.
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