“My epiphany came in the weeks after the Kentucky Derby fiasco. I’d gone down to Louisville on assignment for Warren Hinkle’s Scanlan’s. A freak from England named Ralph Steadman was there—first time I met him—doing drawings for my story. The lead story. Most depressing days of my life. I’d lie in my tub at the Royalton. I thought I had failed completely as a journalist. I thought it was probably the end of my career. Steadman’s drawings were in place. All I could think of was the white space where my text was supposed to be. Finally, in desperation and embarrassment, I began to rip the pages out of my notebook and give them to a copyboy to take to a fax machine down the street. When I left I was a broken man, failed totally, and convinced I’d be exposed when the stuff came out. It was just a question of when the hammer would fall. I’d had my big chance and I had blown it … [and then] This wave of praise. This is wonderful … pure gonzo.” —Hunter S. Thompson
Woodcut print by Loren Kantor.