Thursday, 2 October 2008

Sound advice on working practice by Muhammad Ali

This last week has had me re-reading The Great Shark Hunt, Hunter Thompson's late-70s era compendium of his journalism, which ends with the long interview-based study of Ali done after the first Leon Spinks fight. It's glorious stuff. Some say Thompson never wrote anything else that was much good thereafter. Whereas Ali beat Spinks in the rematch in New Orleans, though some might say it came at a grave cost to his physical wellbeing.
Thompson found Ali licking his wounds somewhat, but never down, never out. He blamed himself for not having got in the right shape and mindset, however younger and fiercer was Spinks. He had been with his adored wife and kids right up to the fight, which was lovely, but the doting had made him soft.
So what will you do if you get another shot? asked Thompson.
'I got to get away from the babies', said the Champ. 'I got to get evil. Gotta chop trees, run up hills, get in my old log cabin.'
And that's not the worst advice for a writer either, every once in a while, if indeed they happen to have an old log cabin at their disposal, and just as long as they get all that 'evil' stuff out and pinned onto a page before they come home.

1 comment:

ceallach said...

With such a lovely wife and daughter is there any chance you could listen to your own advice young man?