When I began my college career, I was placed in remedial English. The fact that I was a high school drop-out probably had something to do with this. Curiously, it was in this first college English course that I realized I wanted to be a writer. What’s more, after passing remedial English, passing the required English courses every student must take, realizing that I actually enjoyed reading (something I had selectively forgotten for quite a few years), and then deciding to major in English, I became rather fanatical about a very selective group of writers I admired.
At the time, there were two writers I idolized above all others: Maya Angelou and Hunter S. Thompson. (Both of whom I would later have some interaction with.) Hunter S. Thompson because I was a drunkard at the time, and he was pretty much the ideal role model for a drunkard; further, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was probably the only movie I ever bothered to memorize lines from. As my roommate and I cruised for parking at the dance club we visited each night, I would look around suspiciously, say: “Wait! We can’t stop here. This is bat country.” After that, our night could begin.
My drinking began to take its toll after a while, and although I still indulged from time to time, I was getting tired of the work one needs to put into full-time alcoholism. So, I stopped going out nightly, and I replaced all my excess time—no mornings hungover, no pre-drinking before hitting the club, no going to the bar every few songs to refuel, no going to the store every few days to replenish—with reading and writing. I knew, at the time, I was destined to become an amazing writer. (Anyone who can take something like drinking so seriously is bound to be good at any hobby that is given the equivalent time and energy, right? Simple logic.) And, if I didn’t let my latest stories (about such things as a giant killer frog taking over Ohio and a homeless man named Santa, who found a hundred dollars, and set out on a tough journey to cross the city to get to Denny's, keeping his bills, rather uncomfortably, up his ass while he faced all kinds of obstacles along the way) cool off long enough, I would’ve told you they were quite remarkable works.
So, figuring I was ready to correspond with other great minds, I contacted Mr. Hunter S. Thompson. Yes, kids, I did. I wrote him a letter, in fact, and seeing as how this was an honorary occasion, I got truly shit-faced in order to write said letter. I spent all night, writing, reading and rereading, drinking, crumpling drafts, and rewriting. In the morning, I had a letter that was… well, genius. I mailed it.
I'll tell the rest of the story later because I have a mid-term exam to put together, but here's a little clue about what happened next... He wrote me back!