Writers are surely an unusual bunch. They mostly are or were alcoholics, adventurers and otherwise even an almost depraved bunch who could write about the beauty that they mostly do not appreciate. Being depressive and manic is probably the base attributes that you need in order to become a good writer. If you are not successful, you lose your mind and if you are, even more so. The good old guardians of literature, Hemingway, Fitspatrick, Bukowski, Thompson, Capote… all of them had something in common. In a normal society, they had nothing much to look for. They couldn’t do without alcohol and, had they not been writers, what would then have become of them?

Here are some rather far-fetched and absolutely crazy anecdotes about our heroes:

In 1956, Thomas Fitzpatrick stole a small aeroplane and landed it on the street in front of the bar where he got drunk in… in the middle of Manhattan. Then, 2 years later, he repeated the entire act, as a boy from the bar refused to believe him…

Hemingway was an adventurer beyond comparison. A hunter, war journalist, and trophy-fisherman; a drinker and womaniser notwithstanding. He took part in numerous safaris, fought in several wars or wrote about them (WW1, Spanish Civial War, Greece-Turkey War, WW2 …). His entire life, or the parts which he wanted to share with us, seemed like fragments of his novels.  Worn out yet full of pride, experienced, charming, smart and bold. Until he committed suicide on 2nd June 1961, it was probably a wild journey. Yet this tells us even more about how exhausted and worn out the Nobel-prize winner was. But a story always brings me back to a smile; it sounds so absurd that it cannot be real. A year before his suicide, Hemingway met with the future dictator of Cuba, Castro. He drank and talked with him and rounded it off with a fishing-trip. Oh Papa Hemingway, you have truly lived your life!

Mark Twain not only presented to us the adventure of Tom Sawyer, as he was also a great thinker who denounced hypocrisy, racism and the system. He was an adventurer who wanted to live at the Mississippi and tried to be a gold-miner before he devoted himself to writing. Quotes like “Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it” and “The only reason why God created man is because he was disappointed with the monkey” originated from him. Once when he was on a tour in Europe, news of his death started to spread in his homeland. When he got wind of it, he wrote a telegraph in the USA, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Hunter S Thompson’s life seems like a chaos – a chaos with style, a chaos he opted for. The inventor of gonzo journalism began writing about sports in his early years. However, the brilliant insanity in him gradually prevailed. He took drugs to an extent which could only be described as health-wrecking and lived together with Hells Angels for several years. Together with them, he took on hell-trips to Las Vegas (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a true story throughout!). The 50s, 60s, 70s and also 80s were portrayed as a wild spectacle through his penmanship. He was the foster father of Johnny Depp and a good friend of Bill Murray. In the 60s, he snuck into the port of a sailing race among the upper classes and sprayed on one of the ships, “The Pope is Gay!” The moment he was seen, he shot a signal-pistol in the crowd and disappeared. Yeah, that’s our Thompson. When he was finally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he took his own life, with his ashes scattered by Johnny Depps with the so-called Gonzo-cannon.

That’s it for now. What conclusions can we draw from all these? Probably that the good writers back then were a pretty crazy bunch of alcoholics, but hell, they could write!

Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilar_(boat)