Juan Thompson (Stories I Tell Myself) and Tim Denevi (Freak Kingdom) with me (Keep This Quiet! memoir series) were together at George Mason University for the “Fall for the Books” fest October 11. Missing but with us on Skype was Bill McKeen (Outlaw Journalist). The panel went an hour and a half on “Writing about Hunter S. Thompson.” What a memorable blast – “on-stage” and off. We had such fun hanging together and also sharing time, talking about our very different writing experiences – Juan being Hunter’s son (writing about his childhood memories of his father and beyond), Tim writing a researched political book, showing Hunter’s great relevance today), Bill talking about his memories of Hunter in person and his in-depth research, plus giving us inside information on down-to-the-wire surprises as the book was about to come out.
And myself talking about the challenges of getting out my side of the story. A totally amazing time. Amazing that we all get along so wonderfully. I felt among real friends. In fact, it was easy to get used to spending a lot of the day with these two – and their high attention, high energy roving conversation and also sensitivity. I’m already missing our conversations. And Bill McKeen spoke in a very immediate, very personal way, as if he were in the room.
It’s official. I’ll be joining George Mason MFA professor Tim Denevi and journalist Jonny Diamond (writer for Rolling Stone, etc.; editor in chief of The Literary Hub) at a McNally Jackson Bookstore event in Brooklyn in November. It’s part of Denevi’s book tour for Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson’s Manic Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism, on sale October 30.
Partnering with Little Brown, The Paris Review, Soho Press, The Melville House, Harper Perennial, the National Book Critics Circle, Random House, Feminist Pres, and many more in the publishing world, The Literary Hub has Tim Denevi on the masthead as well as Diamond. Fortunately, Tim has me in the panel because of my firsthand experience with Hunter and the Sixties. Otherwise, I’d be the odd person out, in that these two are young, dynamic, political Opinion and Editorial specialists.
Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson’s Manic Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism, which I went through in manuscript, is a very interesting book:
The story of Hunter S. Thompson’s crusade against Richard Nixon and the threat of fascism in America–and the devastating price he paid for it
Hunter S. Thompson is often misremembered as a wise-cracking, drug-addled cartoon character. This book reclaims him for what he truly was: a fearless opponent of corruption and fascism, one who sacrificed his future well-being to fight against it, rewriting the rules of journalism and political satire in the process. This skillfully told and dramatic story shows how Thompson saw the danger of Richard Nixon early and embarked on a life-defining campaign to stop it. In his fevered effort to expose institutional injustice, Thompson pushed himself far beyond his natural limits, sustained by drugs, mania, and little else. For ten years, he cast aside his old ambitions, troubled his family, and likely hastened his own decline, along the way producing some of the best political writing in our history.
This timely biography recalls a period of anger and derangement in American politics, and one writer with the guts to tell the truth.
If you are writing a book or want to get writing and editing tips, come out to join us all day September 15. I will be on the panel for “Top 10 Editing Mistakes.” What do you think they are? That’s at NOON.Look for more on my editing background on my webpage here. And also enjoy the other panels. Half-price tickets available NOW. Use the code TWBC when you register on Eventbrite!
McKimmon Center on the NC State Campus in Raleigh, NC.
1101 Gorman St., Raleigh, NC 27606.
Registration will begin at 8:00 a.m. First session starts at 8:30. Final session ends at 5:00 pm.
TICKETS now ON SALE!
Ticket price this year is $150.00 and includes lunch.
Early Bird pricing is $75.00
Al has just transitioned. If you want to be truly inspired, go here and listen to the In Memorial video. Al doesn’t just hope he’ll survive. He has proof in having left the Earth 10,000-plus times as Lama Sing came into his body to give the readings over 45 years – in the trance-channel manner of Edgar Cayce.
His wife, Susan Miner, is pulling back the curtain on aspects of his teaching and life that she observed at his side these last decades. To do this, she will have a weekly newsletter, the first one having just come out August 5, 2018. She writes:
My focus will be on what I believe is the central message of the Lama Sing Group through all 45 years, underscored in Al’s ﬁnal year +. I will reiterate their message in layman’s terms based on conversations he and I had, as well as those we had with the Group sometimes in private readings, and include accompanying excerpts from as far back as 1973 because the message never wavered. Go here to read the first newsletter. I especially love the part about the lions.
Al Miner first comes into the Keep This Quiet! series in Too! He reappears in Initiations and Ancient Secrets Revealed. Here is how he is introduced:
Midway through Keep THIS Quiet Too!, after leaving my husband in Morocco, I was living in Charlottesville, VA. Happening to take a workshop at A.R.E. (the Edgar Cayce organization), I asked who was the most reliable psychic; the first name that came up was Al’s. I was not used to psychic readings. Being a novelist at the time, I counted on getting all my information through inspiration and self-enquiry. But something had changed. I had to get some urgent questions settled. Things had become confused. I thought Milton Klonsky, after death, was guiding me. So I needed a source who saw beyond our 3-D reality. See Al, I was advised. The suggestion was unanimous. And he really came through.
On his website Al introduces his psychic journeys (with the Lama Sing group):
For over four decades, while the Lama Sing group was giving information sought by individuals and groups, Al was off in his own incredible journeys on “the other side.” NDE descriptions (near death experiences) often depict some of this, but the remarkable thing is that Al has an “NDE” every time he does a reading and disassociates from his body so completely it is much like the process of “dying.”
The purpose of this website is to share, not only the information given by Lama Sing, but also the insights obtained by Al during his journeys and his intent to return with full Consciousness in order to incorporate that Consciousness into his life on Earth.
Allen Joseph Miner, a Western mystic teacher of Enlightenment, is considered by many to be the foremost trance channel of his day, and the successor to Edgar Cayce. An accidental psychic at that. He is the largely anonymous originator of such terms as “sea of faces.” He became a channel (a working psychic) though a series of unexpected incidents and mishaps (or tests) that revealed unquestionably his mission and level of consciousness. Today he is the author of forty years of readings, individual as well as general-interest. And of over 15 books. The tale is best told in “Al’s Story” on his own website, which describes the Lama Sing group he channels as a collection of spirits from God-consciousness. But for a quick overview, some highlights are below. The quotations are with permission:
ABOUT CHANNELING. What is it?
Channel is that term given generally to those who enable themselves to be, as much as possible, open and passable in terms of information that can pass through them from the Universal Consciousness, or other such which are not associated in the direct sense with their finite consciousness of the current incarnation.
Revealing a Life Purpose
In a chance hypnosis session with Dr. E. Arthur (Art) Winkler, it was suggested “You will go back to that time and place of greatest spiritual significance to you now.” What happened next is recounted as follows, reprinted in extracts with permission. A shorter account is on their current website:
The next thing Al knew, he was awake, but where seemingly moments ago he’d been lying down, on the leather recliner, now he was standing. Adjusting his eyes to the dark, he realized he was outdoors, apparently under a twilight sky that was giving way to nightfall. He looked at his hands to see if he was really awake, but they were different somehow, as if not his own, and the shirt he’d had on when he’d closed his eyes as Dr. Winkler had begun talking to him in that strange measured pace, had been replaced by a heavy, simple garment of some sort that went almost down to his feet. And there, on his feet, instead of his shoes were sandals. Abruptly aware of people talking behind him, he spun around. Not far away was a small fire with a group gathered close around it, obviously warming themselves against the frigid air. A bit further away were the silhouettes of palm trees next to a small pool, and far off in the distance, he could make out sizeable dunes surrounding them in a sort of gigantic bowl of desert hills. The members of the group were talking amongst themselves with excitement, not seeming to pay any particular attention to his presence off on the outskirts of the oasis.
Something from behind seemed to call Al, shaking him loose from staring at the scene. Turning, the voices carrying on in the background, he stood, gazing out toward the skyline and into the night beyond, a feeling of joyful anticipation growing deep within, that someone he cared about very deeply was soon to arrive. As he searched the horizon for an indeterminable time, he wrestled with thoughts. ‘What is going on? Who am I and where am I? Who is this I’m waiting for that I seem to know but can’t quite remember?’ all the while the thrill inside all but bursting forth in expectation that one so dear to him would, in moments, come walking out of the darkness down the dune to him and their small, waiting group. And then he started to hear a voice, calling to him. Softly, barely audible at first, but slowly growing louder, the voice of this Dr. Winkler calling him to come back.
This chance hypnosis session revealed an astonishing gift. Continuing from the earlier website account:
Once fully back, Al wanted to tell his friends about his incredible experience, but instead, they began to tell him of their own experience and of information he’d been giving. Al refused to believe. “Well, that can’t be true. I was in this desert oasis and…” but they weren’t listening, too excited about what he…or someone…had spoken . . . Laughing, they told him they’d actually been having a conversation with him and he had told them many things, even about another friend of theirs, who Al had never heard of, who lived in Maine and was in deep trouble.
Confused and not able to believe what was being said by the others, Al wanted no more part of this, when Dr. Winkler said, smiling, “I’d like you to hear this”, and reached down and began playing the tape that had recorded the entire session.
When the recording started, and Al heard the voice, he wanted to jump up and run out of the room. What he heard was obviously his voice, but not only was the accent not his, how could it be that he was speaking with them while he was having his own experience in the desert? The more upset Al got, the more everyone else laughed. Finally, Dr. Winkler brought a chair over and sat down next to Al.
“It’s okay,” Dr. Winkler said softly. This kind of occurrence is rare, but it does happen. You have an uncommon ability to move in the sonambolistic state of hypnosis very easily.”
What happened when he went back to a time several centuries in the past (while simultaneously diagnosing illnesses in the “present”) became the turning point, leading up to the decades as full-time channel that occurred since. However, the conversion was not without preparation or “tests.”
It would probably be well to add in conclusion that the “chance” hypnosis session happened after several out-of-the-ordinary occurrences in Al’s earlier life, perhaps in some way preparing him, giving him more of a propensity to believe in unusual phenomena.
There was a near drowning at the age of four in an icy Wisconsin lake, in which, as Al was floating peacefully down to the bottom, looking around at the beauty in the vividly clear lake, he saw a snake swimming towards him. The last thing he recalls, before remembering waking up in his bed with a pile of blankets stuffed around him, was the snake, which sight broke his trance and scared him enough to begin his frantic climb to the surface.
When he was nine, he was not expected to survive the rheumatic fever that had been ravaging his young body for more than six months. He was aware, as he lay staring at the ceiling, of the doctor speaking with his mother in a hushed voice in the next room and that she began to weep as he consoled her. And then, as she had so many times when the pain became excruciating and the fever too much to stand, My-Lady (as he called her) came to him as he gave way to deliria, holding her hand out, lifting him out of his body and into worlds beyond.
But this time was different. Instead of returning him, as she always did when the pain subsided, they traveled far away, and when they returned, it was not to his body but to somewhere just above his home. Somehow he could look down, past the roof, the ceiling, and into the kitchen, where he saw his mother weeping, and in the next room, his body lying still on the sofa where they had temporarily moved him. As My-Lady showed him the scene, Al knew he was being given a choice—leave with her to remain in realms beyond, or return to his frail, sickly body and to the pain. It was his love for his mother that caused Al to return. There would still be quite some time of pain and recuperation remaining, but it was strangely different, and somehow bearable. That was the last time Al would see My-Lady, though unbeknownst to him, she would be born on Earth four years later, and in the autumn of their years, would return to him to become his wife, Susan.
Finally, there was the time he was coming home very early in the morning after finishing a night in a club with his band, when he got a flat tire. Not really needing to be concerned about anyone coming at this hour of night on the deserted back-country road, but pulling onto the shoulder anyway, Al had gone around to get the spare and jack, and was buried to his waist in the huge trunk of his 55 Olds.
Suddenly a flash of light shined into the trunk from behind him, and the next thing he remembers, he was sitting on the bank of a ditch about ten feet deep, about fifty feet across from where his car had been, lights flashing and people running about, talking, shouting. A sheriff, pad and pen in hand, was calling across to him, “Son! How the hell’d you get over there?”
Somewhere down the road, Al could make out the other car, its front-in totally smashed, his own car upside down in the ditch. A shaken Al was having difficulty relating the incident: “I was trying to get the stuff out to fix my flat, when I saw this glaring light and that’s the last thing I remember.” By now, Al was hearing the sheriff’s voice more and more muffled, as if miles away, “Well, son, how can that be? They were doing about 80 MPH when they came up over that hill. Could only’ve been a few seconds before they hit you. I climbed down the ditch to look at your car. Back bumper’s rammed under your back seat. If you hadn’t gotten outta the way, that car would’ve cut you in ha—…”
With the sheriff continuing to ask him questions he could not answer, Al was quietly asking himself: “My life’s savings are gone—saxophone, clarinet, car. What’ll I do? And how did I get all the way over here? What’s happened here?” as the ambulance sped away with the other car’s occupants.
In a recent reading, Lama Sing said that, among many other things, certainly Al’s choice to change course in two major points in his life—first from the entertainment business and then from corporate America—were like tests for him to move from temptations—like the lure of money and stature—that would enable him to be a pure and open channel through which these works could flow.
BOOKS AND PROJECTS. See www.lamasing.org for the many projects, a library of readings, and published and up-coming books.
Author/professor Tim Denevi and I had a delightful time presenting at the Gonzo Fest 2018. The Leo Weekly, Louisville, set up the event in an itinerary:
Writing “Hell’s Angels”: Will the Real Hunter S. Thompson Please Stand Up
Featuring: Timothy Denevi and Margaret Harrell
Book Signings: Margaret Harrell, Ron Whitehead and Juan Thompson
The Battle of Michigan Avenue: Chicago 1968, HST and Violence Against Journalists
Panelists: Michael Lindenberger, Timothy Denevi and Ryan Van Velzer
Moderator: Kate Howard
Held at the Main Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, where Thompson’s mother Virginia worked for many years, GonzoFest Louisville will host two panels, Writing Hell’s Angels: Will the Real Hunter Thompson Please Stand Up? and The Battle of Michigan Avenue: Chicago 1968, Hunter Thompson, and Violence Against Journalists. The festival will also host the Kentucky premiere of the PBS documentary “The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo.”
At the “Writing Hell’s Angels” panel, Tim Denevi, MFA professor at George Mason University, and I gave a program on Hunter, age 29, facing up to challenges in getting his first book, Hell’s Angels, through the publication process at Random House, no small feat under the circumstances of legal challenges and so forth. I was Hunter’s copy editor, the assistant editor to Jim Silberman and the Girl Friday on all matters pertaining to the situation.
The News and Tribune gave some background on my fellow presenter:
Denevi’s next book is a work of narrative nonfiction on Hunter S. Thompson. Denevi’s essays on politics, sport, and religion have recently appeared in The Paris Review, New York Magazine, The Normal School, and Literary Hub, where he serves as the nonfiction editor.
With publication imminent, Tim’s second book already has a free preview here on iTunes.
A huge thanks to Deborah Brownstein for the Featured photo and to an unknown diner at the Brown Hotel for the one of Tim and me.
RALEIGH, NC, March 29, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — Marquis Who’s Who, the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Margaret Ann Harrell with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.
An accomplished listee, Ms. Harrell celebrates many years’ experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. As in all Marquis Who’s Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Longtime writer, editor, photographer and educator, Ms. Harrell is a talented and diverse professional who spent the first portion of her career working in New York City. Hired as a moderator for the Ford Foundation summer courses in Greek classics in four newly desegregated Mississippi and Louisiana high schools and universities by Moses Hadas, a famous professor at famous Columbia University, she earned her first permanent job as an assistant editor at United Feature Syndicate the following year, that was followed by assistant editor and copy editor roles with Penguin Random House between 1965 and 1968. After leaving Random House, she earned three fellowships at MacDowell Colony. Spending her next years in various roles abroad in Morocco, Switzerland, and Belgium, including as a co-organizer of U.S. and Indian workshops and lectures for nearly a decade, Ms. Harrell continues to write and edit all these years later.
Providing editing services for clients, Ms. Harrell will first complete a telephone consultation. She will then look at a few chapters of their book and give a tailor-made assessment of how much editing she believes the book will require and what the fee will be. She provides everything from developmental editing to partial and comprehensive editing, copyediting and line edits or final cuts.
Some of Ms. Harrell’s more recent books she authored include the memoir series “Keep This Quiet! My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, and Jan Mensaert,” “Keep THIS Quiet Too!,” “Keep This Quiet III: Initiations” and “Keep This Quiet IV: Ancient Secrets Revealed.” Her cloud photography—which experiments with the sun—has also won her some fame. In addition to group exhibits and to being printed in various full-color catalogs and magazines—for example, “Best Modern and Contemporary Artists” (Palermo, Italy, 2016, 2017) and “75 Fine Art Photographers (Leipzig, Germany, 2013)—she has a selection in the Toreke Museum in Belgium, and her solo exhibit in Sibiu, Romania, “The Sun in Profile: So Bright It’s Dark,” ran in two locations: the C. Peter McGrath Center and the U.S./Romanian Faulkner Fulbright Conference. Her work is represented by the Ward-Nasse Gallery in New York City.
Published for three days now, KTQ! IV, rev. ed., is still in the top 100 Kindle Mysticism books. It was the nr. 1 new issue in Spirituality/Personal Growth/Mysticism its very first day live.
I can surely thank Diana Henderson for some of that.
I am thrilled to have the review for Keep This Quiet! IV, revised edition, by the marvelous healer and spiritual teacher Diana Henderson below:
As though it arrived with a full legion of angelic messengers and masters of Light, from the moment I touched this book, its energy began to flow through me. If you are ready to welcome energetic shifts toward enlightenment and eager to embrace your own deeper understanding, this book is for you. This beautifully-written volume of wisdom provides attunements as you meander through its pages joining Margaret on her journey.—Diana Henderson, author of Grandfather Poplar
She kept it a surprise; I only learned of it when I opened her “Order of Michael news and events email.” Diana has a large following, and it’s no wonder.
And Grandfather Poplarhere. Or here. This is an inspiring book I immediately connected with – about a young girl who communicates with trees. The story feels very real as you read it:
Melissa Kincaid has a secret that she shares with no one—something that makes her different from everyone else in her life. She communicates with trees and with one elder poplar whom she calls Grandfather. The spirit of her ancestor, a Cherokee medicine man, watches over her and takes her into another realm in her dreams. A world exists beyond this one, and she keeps this truth completely to herself—until the day she meets Arthur, a Cherokee boy who has seen her in his own dreams.
In the very latest review of Keep This Quiet! IV: Ancient Secrets Revealed, of which I am quite proud, Ron Rattner writes that Margaret has an “excellent ability to communicate and weave esoteric ideas about science, psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. Richard Unger’s channeled hand analysis description of her as a ‘grand synthesizer’ was apt and accurate.” Rattner, a longtime devotee of Dhyanyogi-ji, is the author of the forthcoming book From Litigation to Meditation: An ex-lawyer’s spiritual metamorphosis from secular Hebrew to born again Hindu to uncertain Undo. Ron is also the principal writer on the mystical website sillysutras. com, “a project of the Perennial Wisdom Foundation.” Click to access it. Ron is a wise man, who firmly believes, as do I, he is guided by Shri Dhyanyogi in spreading these universal wisdoms.
About the Silly Sutras website, it is described as
a great new place – in cyberspace,
where Dr. Seuss will meet Einstein, and Rumi – and many others too –
just like you,
mystically musing, and whimsically wondering
about Life’s perennial puzzlements.
Here you’ll find Ageless Adages For Every New Age,
With Whimsical Rhymes For Our Times;
Plus Paradoxical Answers to Life’s Unanswerable Questions,
With Speculations and Ruminations Pondering Perennial Puzzlement
Try reading some of the posts. You will find them difficult to turn away from. Sutras, he explains, in its Sanskrit and Latin root means “to sew.” His sutras “join issues.” The result is “a tapestry of insight from direct experience and perennial precepts. Sometimes sutras are concise epigrammatic and enigmatic aphorisms, with vast significance. Sometimes they are grouped to refer to a common category like Yoga or Tao, or as in Buddhist sutras, to record oral teachings of Gautama Buddha.” Ron is also a poet. Sample his site and you will find ancient wisdoms he collects like pearls like those below:
There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe. The horizontal threads are in space. The vertical threads are in time. At every crossing of the threads, there is an individual. And every individual is a crystal bead. And every crystal bead reflects not only the light from every other crystal in the net, but also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.
~ Indra’s Net – from the Vedas of ancient India, 7000 years old
All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.
A section of the November/December 2017 issue of the magazineArtInternational Contemporary, published in Palermo, Italy, was called ‘’Il Genio dell’Art,” or “The Genius of Art.” “Sun Spotlight on Faces” was accepted into it. The publisher curators placed a selection of contemporary art such as mine after works by well-known artistic geniuses such as “Picasso, Dali. Pollock.” That way, the magazine reaches the hands of “a public strictly made of collectors, gallerists, art merchant, museum and foundation directors.”
In a September art event, the publication The Best Modern and Contemporary Artists 2017 was launched in Berlin at the Georges-Casalis-Hall. It is curated in Italy. And I was invited into it. How I would have loved to attend in person (sigh). The location was the Französischer Dom.
An condensed online description reads: “You won’t get any more central that this. The French Cathedral (called the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche or the Französischer Dom) stands in the middle of Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin’s historical city centre. As a
venue for receptions, events, conferences and cultural events, it has the best possible location in Berlin . . . The great hall, with its 700 square metres, has room for 500 – 600 guests. A further highlight of the French Cathedral is the stunning Georges-Casalis-Hall – an oval room with wooden parquet floors – perfect for lectures, conferences or receptions for 100 to 150 people.”
Another online description adds “The edifice commonly known as the Französicher Wikipedia gives a little history:
Französischer Dom (the term is German for “French Cathedral,” but in the case of Gendarmenmarkt, Dom refers to the French word for English “dome” and not to a cathedral. Neither church on Gendarmenmarkt was ever the church of a bishop. . . .
Louis Cayart and Abraham Quesnay built the first parts of the French Church from 1701 to 1705 for the Huguenot (Calvinist) community. At that time, Huguenots made up about 25% of Berlin’s population. The French Church was modelled after the destroyed Huguenot temple in Charenton-Saint-Maurice, France.
You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write. – Saul Bellow
Only the hand that erases can write the true thing – Meister Johann Eckhart
Which is it? The words of the famous thirteenth-century German mystic or the modern Nobel Prize for Literature winner? Both, of course.
Editing – writing – involves juggling these two basic truths. Sometimes a text comes out finished; the trick is to believe in it and not fiddle around. Other times, most of the time, a text may rush out, but it’s falling over itself with excess words.
I like to go through a process of feeling the energy in the work, feeling its form, the way Michaelangelo said a block of stone had the sculpture inside. His job was to chip away till it revealed itself. Instead of treasuring every individual word as untouchable, I find it very easy to stand back at a distance and observe a page, the whole, so that it’s clear what needs to be left with no marks at all and what needs to be gone over lightly or heavily, even with a razor blade for sharpness. A lot of that, the author can do before coming to me. It’s when the author feels either stuck or finished or just wants a jolt of energy, a new angle to keep writing through, a different lens, that the editor can help the author go to a new level.
In editing for someone, you do this one step removed, because you are looking to capture – surround in the best textual context – the author’s own voice and words.