I am thrilled to report that the The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic can be purchased again on the Norfolk Press website – in all editions, including the limited-edition hard cover, which won’t last forever. Below is a review by Leland Locke I like:
For anyone interested in reading about the serious, dedicated, and professional elements that made Hunter S. Thompson one of the most important – not to mention most infamous – writers of the twentieth century, this book is a must-have-behemoth to have on the shelf. Hunter S. Thompson’s and Margaret Ann Harrell’s book, THE HELL’S ANGELS LETTERS, will not disappoint. In fact, like a well-maneuvered and invigorating ride beginning at assumption, and then ending in revelations, the LETTERS book provides readers with an education not only on the publishing world and what it takes to have a book seriously edited and re-worked, but also that the work can generate a lifelong friendship.
Over 250 pages of the text are alive with images of letters written between the two writers. Letters that were previously unpublished, never seen, or made available to the general public. This is more than just another write-up about Hunter S. Thompson, it’s a NEW Hunter S. Thompson work, beautifully guided by Margaret Harrell’s past and prose. If anyone is interested in how it all began, the first book written by Hunter S. Thompson, this collection of correspondence takes you on that trip. And, as the Good Doctor famously wrote: “Buy the ticket, take the ride.” – Leland Locke
This is truly a remarkable interview. It could not help but be with these world-class interviewers of the Hunter Gatherers podcasts: Christopher Tidmore and Curtis Robinson.
She was Hunter S. Thompson’s first book editor, helping craft the Hells Angels book. She was also a friend and, as readers of her book Keep This Quiet! know, “special friend.” Some even say she was a muse at the most critical time of his career… she certainly pulls no punches during a live interview from Louisville.
When you are interviewed by people that gifted, you cannot help but come up with fascinating material. I am greatly grateful that they did this, pulling me aside at the Gonzofest in July 2021 in Louisville for an impromptu interview. Impromptu for me but planned by them.
“AWAKENING YOUR LIGHT BODY” GRADUATE COURSES:
Advanced Light Body courses, of various types, are offered in the Raleigh, NC area. Margaret A. Harrell is a teacher registered with the official headquarters of the founders, Duane Packer and Sanaya Roman, at the LuminEssence School of Light, Medford, Oregon. Besides studying in live classes with Duane and Sanaya, Margaret also studied the light body with seed-group member Roland Verschaeve, in Belgium and Ibiza, Spain – beginning in 1992, when the first light body course was taught in Europe, where she was living at the time.
GRADUATE COURSES: PREREQUISITE: “AWAKENING YOUR LIGHT BODY ”
View adanced light body courses Margaret is eligible to teach(Link directly to orindaben site.) NEW: Free Private “Preparatory Awakening Your Light Body” class – phone or email for details.
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Remember that in taking any course with me, you receive discounted downloads at 20%off.
The structure is typically to meet once a month for 3 hours over a six-month period and in the meantime practice with CDs at home. In-person small-group classes are $50 for three hours. Private classes are $100 for 2 hours. Alternately, contact me about being supported over Skype. Once signing up, you begin to receive transmissions of light and awareness.
“Radiance: Self-Exciting” is an advanced light body course best learned just after graduation from “Awakening Your Light Body.” In becoming “Self-Exciting,” we learn to live in a high state of flow, on the “upward spiral,” where synchronicities and harmony abound. The course takes 6 months, one class (3 hours) a month, plus a onetime course download or box of home-study CDs created by LuminEssence co-founders Duane Packer (channeling DaBen) and Sanaya Roman (channeling Orin). Discount: 20%.
It’s possible to go faster than once a month.
Radiance: Filling in the Frequencies
In this course we “fill in” the frequencies of vision, precision, intensity, clarity, harmony, brilliance, and transparency in your light body. This course is best learned during or after “Radiance: Self-Exciting.” As you become self-exciting, you activate the frequencies that help you “place” your radiance in places it will be received. You learn to add qualities like clarity to your projects and relationships. And manifest with much greater precision and harmony. CD Discount: 20%.
Clairvoyant Vision: Seeing and Sensing Subtle Energy
This course expands your skills as you learn to find things as energy and see from multiple perspectives, including clairvoyantly. Very exciting, intense high-frequency journeys with practical “vision” skills. The Orin skills bring enhanced ability to manifest through awareness of “star influences,” such as from the Pleiades and the Pole Star.
CELEBRATIONS OF RADIANCE SERIES
Peace: Living Your Life Purpose Higher Will: Manifesting with Ease In “Peace: Living Your Life Purpose,” Orin journeys you back into your childhood and up to your soul level, to discover “why you are on the Earth and your purpose in each moment.” In returning from journeys, it is very important to know what your purpose is. DaBen teaches you the “peace of purpose” light body state and the skills to “translate back” across the distance between the light body and ordinary reality.
In “Higher Will: Manifesting with Ease,” you continue to develop your radiance with DaBen tools for solidifying the subtle connections you have outside your light body and sensing the feedback. Awareness of these connections helps you manifest without struggle—with relaxation and ease.
RADIANCE: BUILDING CONSCIOUSNESS SERIES
Expanding Your Consciousness
Continuity of Consciousness
This series takes your Self-Exciting skills into further expansion in the light body. You learn to perceive energy in much more depth and detail. In the “Continuity” CD box, you perceive the continuity of yourself—across this lifetime, through multiple lifetimes—and the continuity of scales and spectrums of energy that you are involved in. This sets a good foundation for Light Body Consciousness.
Awakening Your Light Body Expanded
Filling in the Frequencies Expanded
These three courses take the earlier courses further, to explore the potential and expanded energies in them.
DABEN’S LIGHT BODY CONSCIOUSNESS
This is a series of 6 courses.
DABEN’s “Manifesting in Light Body Consciousness”
This is a two-part course in which we first focus on “Connections in Light Body Consciousness,” followed by manifesting tools.
“To become a master of manifesting, you will be guided to find the inner space from which all Divine Manifesting work is done–a center of illumination and stillness, in contact with the highest of worlds and your Source, and feeling the peace and stillness of Consciousness Itself.”
Know What to Manifest
“DaBen will guide you to receive clear ideas about forms to create that would match the Source energy you contact, getting as much detail as you can, bringing through many ideas about possible forms that might work. . . . There is an effortless flow of drawing in, creating, bringing to fruition, and then letting go without attachment of what you have created, opening to the next new forms.” In addition, a release of what is holding you back.
Please don’t hesitate to Email me on the Contact page for more information or to ask when you can start a class. I sometimes start a class just because someone expressed interest!
Romain Thomassin, a French filmmaker, is right now editing down hours and hours of film, made on location in mi-October for a commissioned 15-minute documentary on Hunter S. Thompson and San Francisco – featuring Hell’s Angels.
For that, he interviewed Peter Richardson, David Streitfeld, and me on location, in Hunter’s old hanging-out spots there. Just wrapped up. Now the hours and hours of film are being edited down to fit the show format. Final edits are in Paris in December. Then this will appear on French TV to an audience of 100,000. I’ll alert ou when short doc is posted on their website.
THEN THE JULY GONZOFEST, the final one. To celebrate Hunter S. Thompson’s birthday this year, a stellar lineup for a panel on The Hell’s Angels Letters gathered at Louisville. KY, July 13. Here are some photos from past Gonzofests I attended.
Gonzofest 2023 was held at the High Horse Bar July 14-15, 2023 from noon until late into the night – A large bar and music venue. And lots of music there was.
Attendees flocking from all over the country, snapped up the 400 tickets and made a most lively crowd. As did the expert Friday panel on The Hell’s Angels Letters. This Hunter S. Thompson themed festival is complete with an Art and Literary Contest, local breweries, and live music.
Pranks, Agonies, as a Young Hunter Prepares His Launching Pad
Peter Richardson teaches Humanities and American Studies at San Francisco State University. His publications include critically acclaimed books about Hunter S. Thompson, the Grateful Dead, Ramparts magazine, and Carey McWilliams, who edited Thompson at The Nation magazine. He is currently writing a book about Rolling Stone magazine for the University of California Press.
Margaret Ann Harrell spent thirty adventurous years abroad in Morocco and Europe, returning to the United States in 2001. She is a three-time MacDowell Colony fellow and has authored eighteen books, including The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic in collaboration with Ron Whitehead (Norfolk Press) and Space Encounters III—Inserting Consciousness into Collisions: A True Fantasy Adventure by the Earth through the Quantum Entangled World. Also, the Keep This Quiet! memoir series and Particle Pinata Poems. She is an editor and an advanced light body meditation teacher as well as a cloud photographer exhibited now and then in Romania, Italy, Bruges (Belgium), and New York City and a mentor to those wanting to go deeper into themselves and their potential.
William McKeen is a professor and the former Chair of the Department of Journalism at Boston University; he is the author or editor of thirteen successful books, including Outlaw Journalist, Mile Marker Zero, and Everybody Had an Ocean. McKeen teaches journalism history, literary journalism, and rock n’ roll and American culture and previously taught at Western Kentucky University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Florida, where he chaired the department of journalism. Before beginning his teaching career, he was a reporter, then associate editor of The American Spectator and the Saturday Evening Post. Mile Marker Zero is “a tall but telescopic-sight-true tale of Hunter Thompson, Jimmy Buffett, Tom McGuane, and a large cavorting cast running around with sand in their shoes at ‘ground zero for lust and greed and most of the other deadly sins,’ [in] Key West,” wrote Tom Wolfe. McKeen spent his early years in England, Germany, Nebraska, and Texas.
Dr. John F. Brickteaches English, first-year rhetoric, and creative writing at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His scholarship includes a comprehensive annotated variorum of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which traces the development of Thompson’s 1971 classic across extant texts and archival documents and provides comprehensive historical, cultural, and literary context. The result not only recaptures something of the first blush of Vegas‘ satire and profundity but offers unprecedented granularity in examining Thompson’s creative process at the height of his powers. Dr. Brick’s most recent work examines intersections of sportswriting and nationalism. In his spare time he enjoys distance running and cycling, and playing for the Milwaukee Hurling Club.
Timothy Jack Denevi is a professor in the MFA program at George Mason University and the past nonfiction editor of Literary Hub. His work has appeared in the Atlantic,Time, the Paris Review, and New York Magazine, to name a few. And he has been interviewed prolifically, across the spectrum of major news outlets, including the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, following the release of his highly successful Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson’s Manic Ten-Year Crusade against American Fascism. Denevi grew up in Los Gatos, California, and lives near Washington DC. He is a MacDowell Colony fellow and a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Ron Whitehead, co-founder of & Chief of Poetics for GonzoFest, is a Lifetime US National Beat Poet Laureate. His life is newly documented in the film Outlaw Poet: The Legend of Ron Whitehead (2022). “Ron Whitehead is Bodhisattva in Kentucky,” said Lawrence Ferlinghetti. “I have long admired Ron Whitehead. He is crazy as nine loons, and his poetry is a dazzling mix of folk wisdom and pure mathematics,” said Hunter S. Thompson. An award-winning poet and performer, author of 30 books and 40 albums, his words have been translated into twenty languages.
What are you waiting for? It will change your entire life. It did mine. And it kept changing it—as the years rolled on. The light body never failed to help me adapt and stretch to any situation. It also boosts your creativity, because it comes out of boundless energy. The light body is older and wiser than any of us. However, its energy, when properly focused, goes right into our everyday lives and energizes us on all levels.
I learned this course the “hard way” – by foot, train, and taxi – and in a foreign language, Dutch. I lived in Belgium. But it didn’t matter. The energies were there, regardless of the language and circumstances. I was amazed that I could actualize visualize with my eyes closed. The energies danced into “visions” when I least expected it, and they transported that excitement into me. As the energies danced into transformation, so that excited energy remained in me. So much so that I eventually began to teach the courses. And more courses. Till I was teaching practically every light body course that was offered to the public through a teacher.
I offer you a free introductory hour to see how you like these guided meditations yourself. I can guide you into a meditation and let you experience DaBen and Orin, the originators of the foundation course. Come, enjoy. I always do. And I think you will too.
The photos comes from the CDs in the six-box home study program of Awakening Your Light Body created by LuminEssence, www.orindaben.com; there, Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer describe these courses they channeled, which are now taught worldwide. Great attention is paid to being authentic and not over-commercialized. Are you ready for this course? If so, please contact me. You can start immediately.
I went down to Louisville, KY, one of my favorite places, for six days to haunt the sound studio of Bill Hardesty, who took the photo of me at the Brown Hotel above. An expert photographer but an even more expert at sound engineering. Ron Whitehead sat at my side almost the whole time and read two poems by me and the end-of-the-book essays. Otherwise, I read every word of the book myself, a massive undertaking. A huge thanks to Ron, who set everything up. And to Bill for being fearless and generous. He could have charged a fortune, considering the scale of the project. But he had a heart.
A trailer, based on images taken at the Brown that weekend by a young whiz named Yunier Ramirez and images in the book is just finalized except for the credits at the end. Click the link for a sneak preview.
The Hell’s Angels Lettersis a must-have text for any Hunter S. Thompson fan. Lavishly documented and illustrated with the actual correspondence that led to the publication of his breakthrough literary effort, Hell’s Angels, this coffee-table book literally shows how HST boot-strapped his way from an impoverished nobody journalist to growing legend.
Kyle K. Mann, Gonzo Today. Print available only at norfolkpress.com.
At last, with print book and the soon-to-be-released audioof the Norfolk Press print book The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic, the public can go inside the experience of Hunter Thompson at Random House. This book, which focuses on his letters to his copy editor, Margaret Harrell (available nowhere else), is an important revelation in the legacy of Thompson. “If Hell’s Angels hadn’t happened I never would have been able to write Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or anything else . . . I felt like I got through a door just as it was closing,” Hunter told Paris Review. Check out the $9.95 Amazon E-book and (soon to be released) full-295-page audio book (Amazon).
PUBLISHER (print BOOK): Norfolk Press of San Francisco
Above, Ron Whitehead, Beat Lifetime Poet Laureate, recites his poem “Discovering the Heart of the World, a Story,” his spontaneous Introduction that came to him as he read the first pages of Space Encounters III. Full title: Inserting Consciousness into Collision(s) – rev. edition – A True Fantasy Adventure by the Earth through the Quantum-Entangled World.
This is a soul journey in and through and beyond space and time. All of Margaret A. Harrell’s books are connected, linked. They are her never ending life story. Her new book is plugged in, an electric shock, a wake up call for those bold and daring enough to take the wildly delightful adventure to the whirling ever changing source of all and everything.
Credit: Book cover image: Grant Goodwine
NEW: REVIEW by Chris Van de Velde, master coach in Belgium, on Space Encounters III:
The author is a wizard at turning the sign language of the specifics into messages of the beyond.
Space Encounters III is an experience of a fantastic journey into the source of creativity. Another re-story-ing of how our lives our entangled in the grandiose web of the universe. This time taken from a myriad of perspectives: quantum leaps and how they shake up the Newtionian mechanistic worldview, Jungian archetypal wisdom seen from a quite unique angle, the huge impact on a life’s course starting with childhood imprints, spicy poetic wordplay endowed with meaning… Originally Margaret was a dancer, turning on into a writer who composes symphonies of words and dances along the cosmic plot lines she is detecting. This is heralding a new style of life where the old story is no longer valid, the narrative of warmongers and suppression is coming to an end. And a new story is revealed which is paradoxically containing and rebirthing ancient wisdom. A re-story-ing of how the grand web of the universe is entangled with our personal lives boiling down to that marvelous gem that tells us all living beings matter to the grand web. The whole journey is a wake up call: what you do, matters and impacts the cosmos… Creation is a creative act and we are all involved. So you better watch out! And are recommended to read this book as an eye-opener, I-opener, beyond the eye/I. Enjoy the experience and join the dance of Space Encounters III!”
Jef Crab, Tai Chi master and Taoist, in the clips below, bite-sized and dense, that go with different pages of tex, provided short video commentary to specific chapters, pointing out how they align with Taoism and his own experiences and consciousness. He places the ideas in them beside other deep attempts to understand the universe, from the emptiness state, as far as humans can do so. The text is also found at the end of the book.
Finally a manual of the Universe but also connected to the deep psychology of the human being. In easy to grasp terms Margaret reveals insight into the processes that connect past, future and now; the quantum world with daily existence and seemingly superficial events with deep spirituality. The magic of this book is that it positions our place in the universe and our dream of life with much more clarity. A manual indeed
The host was marvelous, keeping things lively. Robert Sharpe has very thoughtful, interesting, wide-ranging topics. And he was ready to find them in Keep This Quiet Too! – vol. II of the KTQ! series. BookLife, the indie arm of Publishers Weekly, has its verdict on the book:
With an eye for surprising detail, Harrell conjures a charged and vivid milieu, even as the story she tells is often painful . . . A journey with grand destinations throughout the globe and within the author’s consciousness. –
BookLife further calls it: “charged, vivid, painful, grand.” I’ll take it. Also of interest, says the reviewer, is “her abundant enticing experiences and insights, and her relationships with her subjects.” The review opens:
“I’m not crazier than you,” Harrell reports once saying to her friend Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson’s response: “No, but you talk crazier.” That exchange, recounted in an introductory author’s note, kicks off the second in a series of memoirs (after Keep This Quiet!) by Harrell that examine her relationship with three fascinating men of letters: first that gonzo icon Thompson, for whom Harrell served as an editor at Random House and maintained a friendship with through his years of covering horse races and regatas, and Milton Klonsky, the beat writer who was her literary and spiritual advisor. Finally, there is the poet Jan Mensaert, her troubled husband, whose struggle with drugs, alcohol, and mental illness overshadowed his considerable artistic abilities.
“Horse races and regatta,” that’s a funny take on all the political news tackled. Just scratching the surface.
I’m VERY appreciative of the review, with phrases that lift out beautifully. And those topics and facets were on full display in this interview.
Below are some reactions to The Hell’s Angels Letters followed by photos related to the book and me. Cover: Grant Goodwine. For collectors, there is a limited edition of 120 (at $120). For the high-end coffee table edition ($60, 297 pages, many in color), you can’t go wrong, as underscored enthusiastically by every single reader. Attention: there’s now an ebook option on Amazon here.
The eminent reviewer for the Washington Post Michael Dirda has given a Big Head’s Up to The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic in his October 8, 2020, write-up about it inside a piece called “Can’t get enough Game of Thrones or Star Wars? New editions on cult favorites are here to satisfy:
Among late 20th-century American writers, none can rival Norman Mailer and Hunter S. Thompson in sheer force of personality, both on the page and in person. Mailer, whether in his fiction, polemical essays or reportage, always aimed to be consequential, to be fiercely engaged with his times. Would that he were living now! For a hint of what we’ve lost, check out the latest book-length issue, Volume 13, of “The Mailer Review” at the home page of The Norman Mailer Society. Thompson’s motto might well have been “Nothing in moderation.” For “The ‘Hell’s Angels’ Letters,” Margaret Ann Harrell — in collaboration with Ron Whitehead — has assembled a dossier of all her correspondence with Thompson during the time she worked as the editor of the gonzo writer’s “strange and terrible saga of the outlaw motorcycle gangs.” Typed manuscript pages, scribbled notes, photographs, interviews and all sorts of period ephemera relating to “Hell’s Angels” allow the reader a valuable, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of this classic of New Journalism.
Finding the truth amidst the Gonzo madness of Hunter Thompson’s life story is not easy. He was an incorrigible self-mythologiser and the books about him tend to incorporate many of his own fantastic – and totally untrue – stories as though they were fact. Harrell attempted to dispel at least one of these myths in Keep This Quiet and digs deeper in The Hell’s Angels Letters, determined to set the record straight about how and where Thompson got the idea for a book on the Death of the American Dream and how his pet snake can to a violent end.
As the title implies, this book is mainly comprised of letters between Harrell and Thompson, some typed and some handwritten, and all printed here in colour. Of course, there are already two collections of Hunter Thompson’s letters available, but somehow they are even more enjoyable when read in the original form. Whether typed or scrawled in giant letters with a red pen, Thompson’s correspondence is invariably annotated and corrected in his unique way, adding a layer of personality that was missing from the collections, as well – of course – as Harrell’s explanations that provide further insight.
In case you missed it, there’s a Gonzo Today review of TheHell’s Angels Letters Letters by Kyle K. Mann, Editor-in-Chief. It opens like this:
This is a big book, literally and figuratively. The short version:
The Hell’s Angels Letters is a must-have text for any Hunter S. Thompson fan. Lavishly documented and illustrated with the actual correspondence that led to the publication of his breakthrough literary effort, ‘Hell’s Angels,’ this coffee-table book literally shows how HST boot-strapped his way from a impoverished nobody journalist to growing legend. The author, Margaret Harrell, who was Thompson’s editor on his inaugural book, and her collaborator, Thompson’s friend and associate poet Ron Whitehead, have succeeded brilliantly to create a fabulous present for you, or anyone in your life who admires Thompson’s numerous achievements. It is not inexpensive, but no matter, it’s worth every penny. The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic gets five stars out of five! Bravo!
The long version:
I was delighted to get the package at the Topanga Post Office from Ron. I got it home and opened it eagerly. As I flipped through the pages, I was astounded to see typewritten and even handwritten letters from HST. Beyond amazing! But, how the freaking hell am I going to review it?
It sat on my desk for weeks, demanding attention. I found myself resentful as the days went by… what am I doing with this monstrosity? I’d open it and recoil due to the intensity of HST’s personality, roaring off the page. I tried getting stoned and looking anew, but nope, way too heavy to digest and analyze in that state. Yet, Ron had sent it to me to review, and I knew our Gonzo Today readers wanted, even needed, to get my take.
The Hell’s Angels Letters is a unique combination: at the center is Hunter Thompson’s letters to his contact person at Random House as his bestseller Hell’s Angels comes into being. (That contact continues thereafter.) Beside this is the admiring and excited perspective of that beautiful young woman at Random House, who then changes course to set off on some adventures of her own. (She turns out to be very interesting and deep in her own way, becoming more complex as she matures.) Interwoven is a history of the times, from literary and political perspectives, with a cast of characters from then. Plus interviews and short articles by authorities exploring Hunter Thompson’s legacy. Photographs. And witty cartoons.
I found this highly accessible book intriguing in a down-to-Earth very human way, requiring not metaphors, but rather—it seems to me—a deeply self-revealing honesty. I have liked it tremendously.
Virginia Williams, PhD, President of Williams LifeSkills