Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I love this thing: old dead men (part 1)



Richard Brautigan is my favourite writer. He is dead now. He shot himself in the head. He has a daughter called Ianthe or something who is a writer as well. She found the pages of An Unfortunate Woman after he died and thought it was his "best yet" and got it published in his memory. I am grateful to her for that. I am trying to collect all of his books. I have five now. His books are quite hard to find I think. When I was in Sydney I talked to a man at a second hand book store in Kings Cross who said that a lot of them are out of print now. I couldn't imagine finding many in second hand bookstores either; why would any one want to not have his books? Can't fathom that. Richard Brautigan is very witty. He is very funny. He is satirical and anxious and loves and hates. He looks at things and sees beauty. He looks at things and sees ugly. He looks at things and sees nothing. Sometimeshedoesn'tlikespacesbetweenwords. Sometimes he doesn't even like words. He likes the outdoors. He likes bees. I talk about Richard Brautigan in the present tense even though he is dead for many reasons:

  1. I love him.
  2. When someone dies and leaves behind a legacy they are always alive even one million years later because always someone is discovering them for the first time and getting to know them over a coffee or a tea on a cane chair on the patio or in a café or on a boat or in a library or on the internet or all of those things simultaneously and therefore they are existing then and there always always always.
  3. I think of him as my friend even though he exists in my head and in my bookcase. I think about him probably 3-7 times a day. There is a cool pic of him on the internet in a really big hat standing beside a mailbox. I think about that.
  4. I call him RB. Even if Richard Brautigan is dead, RB is not. Flesh rots, pet names are 4eva.
There are a few books I still need to read. I think when I move into the Log Cabin I can trade with Eamonn. I think he has some. Even if he doesn't I will let him read the ones I have. I like RB's book of short stories The Revenge of the Lawn. I also like Sombrero Fallout and A Confederate General from Big Sur (his first novel). Dreaming of Babylon is also real good. Real real good. His poetry is wonderful. I've read a lot of his poetry in The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writing and online too. I read it again and again, when I feel sad or uninspired. Edna Webster was the mother of one of his girlfriends I think (I think). From what I gather she was poor and he really liked her and (when he broke up with her daughter??) he gave her a bunch of stuff he had written (poetry, short stories, little "scripts") with a note that said something like "have this and sell it when I am famous". And she did. The guys that collated it all went nuts over the stuff. And Edna Webster wasn't poor any more.

Everyone wins when they read Richard Brautigan. 

Everyone wins except Richard Brautigan.

4 comments:

  1. Man I love RB so much. One of my favourite parts about him is how much you get the sense of him when you read his work. Trout Fishing in America doesn't really have a plot but you get such an amazing idea of who he is without being able to put it into words. I have 2 3 novel collections (both on loan right now) and one other novel. All are yours to read whenever you want. I think Revenge of the Lawn is my fav, So the wind won't blow it all away is also amazing. You also get such an amazing idea of the area he lived in, him and The microphones are the major factor to my love of the Pacific Northwest.

    P.s. http://www.brautigan.net/ has all of his poetry to read I think

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  2. That site is tops. Already a top visited. There is even an online library like the one in The Abortion. Crazy.

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