Writing style, a Filipino kid and Hunter S Thompson

Everyone has their unique writing style, even if all they write is grocery lists. I’m not talking about handwriting, it is about how you begin, explain, discuss and end. How you put your point across, how you “talk” on paper. If you read something you’ve written in the past, over a few times, you’ll get an idea (get milk, buy socks, pay the phone bill or an eloquent essay on the transgressions of the rich against the working class in the 30s). One of the many popular writing styles is “Gonzo”. Hunter S Thompson popularized this, and until recently I used to think I was introduced to it when I first read “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. I was so wrong.

I first came across it in 5th grade, during my English finals, on a 4th grader’s paper (my school mixed different grades during exams, for variety). I had finished an hour early and was looking at how everyone else was doing, when I took a peek at this fellow’s paper. 5 minutes into reading his essay my mind was blown. This kid was “talking” to the examiner, a whole conversation. I didn’t even know you could write like that, I thought you had to have fixed structure and follow rules, formats and what not. Wouldn’t they fail you if you didn’t? I was sure this kid’s paper was destined for an “F”, but he had style and even the 5th grader I knew that (though I hated to admit it then).

He caught me reading, looked at me and smiled, as if asking for my opinion. I smiled back and gave him a thumbs and my sarcastic smile. He seemed to be happy with his work, because he gave me an even bigger smile and went back to put the finished touches. Stupid kid.

Well the tables turned, I now worship the kid and Hunter S Thompson both. I went on to read a lot of Hunter’s books, I have no idea who or where that kid is now. I hope he is as happy as he was that day with his writing and not wondering why he couldn’t write with format and structure like the 5th grader me. Because fuck rules, everyone deserves to follow their own style.


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