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Matt Thompson moved from Dungog to the United States during the pandemic, despite rising concerns in the country about the COVID-19 plague and racial tensions.
Dr Thompson likes to immerse himself in chaos, practicing a style of journalism widely known as "Gonzo".
He used this style in his bestselling books, My Colombian Death, Running with the Blood God and Mayhem, and his work with the University of Newcastle's Centre for the Study of Violence. We asked him for a Gonzo account of his new life in Oregon. Over to you, Dr Thompson.
Wielding a hatchet in one hand and hunting knife in the other, a nasty-faced little man strides up the banks of the South Umpqua River and heads straight at me. The vagabond is all spit and grimace as he mutters obscenities through his dirty beard. A young filmmaker with me steps back, startled.
"G'day," I say to the tramp, whose squint slides from me to his weapons and back. "I'm Matt," I tell him.
"Do you know what 'Roy' means?" he slowly growls, eyes like flint-encrusted buttholes. "In every language of the world, Roy means 'king'. That's my name," he says. "Roy. Nice to meet you."
We chat for a while: me telling him about having recently moved to southern Oregon from Dungog, and Roy telling me about doing 18 years for beating someone near to death. He says he did it in the house behind us - just a stone's throw from his tent in the riverside homeless camp that I've approached with the young filmmaker.
As Roy hisses out his wretched tale, it's hard not to be distracted by the many staples protruding from his balding scalp. Embedded in ugly red swellings, these aren't surgical staples used to close wounds, but instead are stationery staples. Somebody stapled Roy's head.
In many ways, Roy reminds me of blokes I came across a lifetime ago in the east end of Newcastle: teeth-grindingly paranoid parolees draining dawn-schooners at the Great Northern Hotel's ever-dicey 'early openers' ("What're youse looking at?")
Southern Oregon, like much of America, is rich in this kind of boyhood nostalgia. Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer now regularly comes to mind with its sentimental depiction of boyhood life in a town where transient grave-robbers hunt children, murder each other and starve to death in caves.
One recent night that sparks fond memories of Twain's young-adult classic is spent sitting with a couple of buddies in an undisclosed location, listening to brief snatches of walkie-talkie chatter coming up from underground sectors of an Oregon town. Amidst the chaotic screams and carrying on, about all we make out are crazed roars of "f*** you".
We'd been planning to descend, but the hostility of the subterranean night-creatures - who reportedly outnumber us at least a dozen to one - makes doing so seem a touch stupid. Especially when I've promised to help my daughter with her maths homework in the morning.
A companion offers to fetch us each a handgun, arguing that we have just as much right as the tweakers and fugitives to enjoy this town's nooks and crannies, but I decline. Winding up on a slab or in jail after an underground gunfight simply isn't going to get that maths done.
So, for now, we decide to hold off and maybe later seek slightly safer passage to Hades from a notorious but elusive Satanist woman who - word has it - has a knack for being first on the scene in a recent string of vagabond corpses turning up floating in the Umpqua or crumpled in the dirt.
Goddamn I love America. After a near lifetime in Australia, it's a breath of fresh air being back in this Parthenon of Lunacy. Where else would the Capitol get stormed by an acid casualty wearing toy horns?
I listened to that extravaganza live on National Public Radio while working construction with a Trump rally-organising buddy who, like so many in this wild neck of the woods, doesn't rule out the near-total societal collapse that he does what he can, casually, to promote. But that's America: ever on the brink.
Even getting here was a hoot. Duly granted lunatic exemptions from the Australian government's un-American travel restrictions, my daughter and I were two of only 35 passengers kicking back on a Delta jetliner fitted out for 400.
Even in cattle class, the service was wonderful: attentive and rich in smiles, ice cream, booze and howdy doodies, as we slipstreamed towards a land where uncontrolled pestilence had already killed hundreds of thousands. America.
Yet, as grand as it is here, especially in this, my wild birthland of Oregon with its wolf packs, salmon streams and volcanic Cascade ranges, still I fly the flag for Dungog - home for the past 14 years. The South Umpqua's misty banks will thus soon be home to a Pacific Northwest chapter of the illustrious Dungog Harbour Yacht Club. Intrepid sailors from the Hunter's little town on the Williams will here find safe berth - as well as an appropriately unsafe passage to the underworld.
Oregon is sublime: God's country, as my late, cliche-prone, Oregonian dad called it, and although he wholeheartedly embraced his new life in remote golden Australia, my daughter and I bring here our share of his burnt remains. A white cloud of him I throw into a berserk tangle of coastal forest, and, while my daughter keeps watch, I scatter the rest in garden beds of his beloved hometown, Eugene. The hometown also, for what it's worth, of the great Ken Kesey: madman, Merry Prankster, and author of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.
In contrast to Straya, here I scramble and hustle every single day to survive and make a life, but every single day, and in every language of the world, I also have no doubt that I am alive.