Keep This Quiet! (2011), Keep THIS Quiet Too! (2012) and Keep This Quiet! III: Initiations (2013) are a memoir series that begins in the late 1960s in New York City, where Margaret has a close relationship with 3 men: Hunter S. Thompson (she copy edits his first book, Hell’s Angels), Jan Mensaert (a Belgian poet living in Morocco), and Milton Klonsky (a fabulously intelligent and hip New York City poet/intellectual/ wiseman). Thus the stage of the rest of her life is set. These 3, outlaw writers, provide the kind of dynamic example of confidence and authenticity she is looking for. She jumps into the fray.
The latest in the series is Keep This Quiet! III, which covers The missing years in Keep THIS Quiet Too! 1985-91, just before Margaret went to Owl Farm
Milton Klonsky, one of the three “outlaw writers” in KTQ! I & II, used to say he looked at Margaret’s life, as it unfolded in New York before his eyes, as a series of installments in a comic strip. He said that facetiously. But in fact, much was always going on. In Keep This Quiet! III she makes a dramatic departure. Leaving New York City/Random House (the main location of Keep This Quiet! I) and Morocco (the main location of Keep THIS Quiet Too!), Margaret (minus husband) finds herself in the C. G. Jung Institute Zurich, to study. As it turns out, she is in for an unexpected, very profound spiritual initiation. Bradley Weber, winner of the 2014 Gonzo Fest literary contest first place and author of Fear and Loathing of the Undead (in progress) finds it:
a fantastic read. Ms. Harrell expands greatly on some of the things she only briefly discussed in the first two books. The connections between physics and the mind are fascinating and oddly reassuring. Pick up all three books for the full scope of Margaret’s story, but if you have a more scientific or (for the lack of a more precise term) spiritual bent, start with Keep This Quiet! III: Initiations. And if you have the chance to see Ms. Harrell speak, you owe it to yourself to go.
Two of the main “characters” in Keep This Quiet! III are psychologist Carl Jung and Nobel Prize physicist Wolfgang Pauli, together the authors of the synchronicity concept. A reviewer writes:
Jung & Pauli . . . Courageously, competently Harrell guided this reader through mazes of scientific exploration, all the while keeping her engaging ‘anima’ voice as lure to read on
—Puanani Harvey, Advanced Studies Coordinator, New Mexico Society of Jungian Analysts
Watch Ron Whitehead introduce Margaret at the 2014 Gonzo Fest. The independent filmmaker is Nick Storm of Storm Generation Films. Later a few excerpts of her live presentation will be posted here.
Ron’s comments about Keep This Quiet! III:
Margaret A. Harrell’s Keep This Quiet! III is the real-life alchemical journey of her poet (co-creator with the creative forces of the universe) soul in which she intentionally determinedly makes the journey of initiation, juxtaposing apparently irreconcilable differences into a synthesis, a union of being. And she takes Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, Jan Mensaert, Wolfgang Pauli, Carl Jung, and many others with her as she discovers and shares, with us, her own tao her way her I ching her Book of Changes. Thank you, Margaret, for sharing your transformative journey When one of us is lifted up we are all lifted up.Thank You for the lift!!!!
—Ron Whitehead, outlaw poet author of Never Give Up
Keep THIS Quiet Too!
NEW REVIEW OF KEEP THIS QUIET TOO! FROM BEAT SCENE IN ENGLAND
by Eric Jacobs
Following on from the whirlwind that was volume one, Margaret Harrell returns with more adventures involving three particular men in her life, Milton Klonsky, Jan Mensaert and Hunter S. Thompson. She was a top editor in her time – she worked on Thompson’s Hell’s Angels – and this provided the door through which she stepped into the lives of this trio. Or should that be the other way around? . . . It is chaotic, shambolic, impulsive, complete and utter madness at times here. Klonsky is the steadiest, a kind of mentor-father figure to Harrell. Mensaert is mercurial, frustrating and often suicidal and then she marries him. Thompson, perhaps the one writer with the biggest profile in American letters, is, well, Hunter S. Thompson as only he was. Mad as a box of mad things, living in the moment, furiously living and she is drawn to his flame. A passionately written memoir that doesn’t sit around being fit and proper and straight laced. . . . As a key to the lives of these three writers it is idiosyncratic and in an age where blandness is the norm it is a pleasure to go on her journey and find out a little about what makes these men tick and what drove her to them.
About Volume One
What Critics Are Saying:
Margaret Harrell’s Keep This Quiet offers an illuminating look at Hunter S. Thompson in full throttle trying to make it as a Top Notch prose-stylist. Harrell fills in many important biographical gaps. A welcome addition to what is becoming the HST cottage industry. Read it.
This book was born out of my relationship with Hunter Thompson over many years. It covers the first four. The relationship started in Random House when one of my bosses, Jim Silberman, asked me to copy edit Hunter’s Hell’s Angels manuscript and be the link – his pathway up to Jim at the top of the chain. I was to keep Hunter happy by catering to his every concern. Hunter knew nothing about me. But he immediately secured permission to phone me at will, paid for by Random House. For months I was happily on the job at home and off. I see the arrangement – of unlimited phone calls – something like that in You’ve Got Mail, before personal internet. The Hell’s Angels senior editor, Jim Silberman, traveled out to San Francisco, early on, to meet Hunter Thompson. He secured the book, Hunter’s first to be published (it was half written in manuscript), from its intended paperback publisher, Ballantine. Signed and sealed the deal. And we were off to the races.
From the San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review:
While the job at Random House did offer her the opportunity to meet a lot of writers and famous people, it is Hunter that became her secret office romance. The two start a correspondence within letters and long-distance phone calls that morphs from a concealed passion into a long-term friendship. Keep This Quiet! is a book about a woman’s life and her loves, determination, and discovery. “. . . A great deal of the book is personal letters from Hunter to Margaret, with Margaret’s inside emotions written in the theoretical margins. Harrell is an excellent storyteller, in a story that is never about the narrative, but about the real people. Every person in the book is bold and well defined; and I especially liked the notes where Harrell backs up her story with proof.
In this website you will become familiar with some of the people and events surrounding Keep This Quiet! I hope you will rush out to buy the book – experience the live words of Hunter Thompson again and relive some of his finest moments, of which he had so many. When he was first published at Random House, he had already written The Rum Diary in draft. But nothing in book form of his was in print. And then came Hell’s Angels, a best seller. Keep This Quiet! walks with Hunter Thompson as he enters the wide arena in which he became a legend. I hope this new Hunter Thompson book will find a place in your heart, as Hunter did in mine. And if you like it, don’t forget to write a review!
Keep This Quiet! is filled with beautiful, honest, agonized letters Hunter Thompson wrote me while we worked together in the final stages of the publication of Hell’s Angels. As part of the many wishes he left behind, he personally left me permission to use them. Or at least gave me a big high-five from a distance. Left word that I was one of the good ones.
Buy from Amazon here
KEEP THIS QUIET! a memoir: My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, and Jan Mensaert by Margaret A. Harrell is a masterpiece! I never expected to say that about a memoir yet as I say it memories of so many other great works of creative non-fiction autobiographies memoirs etc start flooding in, works by Mark Twain and Walt Whitman and Frederick Douglass and Knut Hamsun and Marcel Proust and Cora Sandel and James Joyce and Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway and Zora Neale Hurston and Thomas Merton and Jack Kerouac and David Amram and Hunter S. Thompson and Diane di Prima and Bob Dylan and well the list is endless. And I see clearly that Margaret A. Harrell’s KEEP THIS QUIET! a memoir stands shoulder to shoulder with the greatest works of alltime. And I hear that volume 2 is on the way. How fortunate we are! Bravo Margaret A. Harrell! Thank You!!!
Ron Whitehead, outlaw poet and damn proud to be Author of numerous books of poetry and DVDs, also presently Kentucky’s Ambassador to Estonia. Check it out.