"I’ve always respected whatever he did, even this." | AspenTimes.com

"I’ve always respected whatever he did, even this."

Tom Benton

It’s 3 a.m., sometime in fall 1969. Hunter is writing his thoughts to fill one side of the “Aspen wall poster,” a 20-by-26 election poster with writing on one side and graphics on the other. Hunter is writing whatever he wants and I do any graphics I want. The whole thing is done in one night with his creative insight and my feeding off the humor. It’s what anyone who has experienced working around him – his weird views and how he expresses them.His creative genius and the depth of the whole man is an experience I was lucky to have for almost 40 years. We put out six or seven wall posters that year, and every one represented one of the most wonderful nights of my life. To see beyond the writing to the total depth is to view whole genius; like all great art it goes beyond the words and has something unexplainable that makes it great. And that’s Hunter.Whatever he was involved in, he was completely enveloped in the experience. You couldn’t go to the liquor store with Hunter without something happening, and that’s what comes out in the writing. For me the experience behind the final writing was often more interesting. And everything he did had great humor. No one has ever made me enjoy humor like Hunter – no one.No matter what he wrote about, good or bad, it was with humor. Even his rare rages had a hint of humor. There was a great kindness in him, a loyalty, and he was always very, very generous.No matter what my experience has been with him – a three-hour drive to Denver that takes 14 with distractions, dinner that starts after the restaurant has closed, strange trips looking for something that can’t be explained, shooting posters that showed me he even had an intuitive aesthetic sense, just being around him – he was never anything but pleasurable and never close to boring. For me, his creativity was genius and I think he’s the best writer of our time. He also had more integrity than anyone I have ever known.He is gone now and I hate that, but what he gave to all of us will never be gone and that’s what creative genius does. He was always my stability and for him I’ll try to go on with purpose, but damn I hope time will take away what now is heavy. God, how I love him. I’ve always respected whatever he did, even this.In his kitchen one night he said, “I’m having a hard time making this deadline, I must send a telegram ‘unable to make it to the post office due to a raging blizzard.'” When the confirmation came, the telegram read “unable to make it to the post office due to a raging lizard.” This is true. So even the operator was gonzo.


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