All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds.

Richard Brautigan is one of the writers that I just get. When I finish a novel of his I’m not always entirely sure what it meant. Or if it meant anything. Sometimes I think they are just what they ar: a beautifully innocent look at the world from a man who, as Ferlingetti said, was much more in tune with the trout in America than with people.

My first experience with Brautigan came with a beat up copy of Watermellon Sugar that I picked up at a used bookstore. The bookstore was probably in Toledo, Ohio but it might have been North Platte, Nebraska. It was one of those purchases that you don’t know why you’re making but something about the fading of the cover or the creases in the binding just draw you to it and force you to take it home. That and it was probably absurdly cheap.

Since, I have collected a copy of nearly every work of fiction written by the man, mostly in the form of massive 3-in-1 collections that you can still find on a Border’s bookshelf, if the store is decently stocked. I have found him to be a writer who gives anything from violence to sex to sitting on a bence in the park an aura of golden wonder. All of the critiques of him saying he was “innocent” are spot on but I don’t view them as drawbacks. Why must good writing not be innocent and wonderous? I have to think the world would be a better place if we all saw the world a bit more like Brautigan seemed to.

Never having read much of his poetry, what I have read is very good and carries the similar bizarre track of his novels. In his pages you won’t find another “Howl” or “Wasteland.” When you pick up “Watermelon Sugar” expect to get “Watermelon Sugar.”

Anyway, I just read “Trout Fishing in America yesterday and wanted to talk about Richard Brautigan. He’s an interesting writer. He shot himself in the head in the 80s and he probably didn’t deserve to die in such a way. But it’s probably better than being eaten by tigers in watermelon sugar. Got some links at the bottom in case you’re curious about some more RIchard Brautigan. And if you’re not, you should click on them anyway because I might have just done a poor job of selling him. So check him out. And enjoy the fishing.

 

Brautigan Wiki

Brautigan.net

Brautigan Poetry

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