Thursday, April 19, 2007

Brautigan

In Richard Brautigan's story "The Abortion" he describes a privately funded library
that accepts any book brought to it by any author. Your diary, your, poetry, your biography, what ever you've written. No publishing house, no "vanity press", no critics. You are accepted. What an intriguing concept. Of course, here we are.
Everyone is an artist and now everyone can find his audience.
I mean literature, poetry, pictoral art, music, humor, you make it, by golly you are published.
I know I've said this before (see blogparty infinite) but Sunday I was reminded by an artist friend of mine who is facing retirement and is looking to some quality time with her art. Maybe we'll see her on line soon.
Michael Tilson Thomas is a friend of hers and apparently he has an idea obout some kind of on-line museum. Probably a good idea. Anyone like to help out with that?
Finally, I've got the kitchen floor prepared and I'm heading out to the hardware store for glue and stuff soon. As soon as the tiles are stuck down, the lights need to be wired up and the last cabinets installed.
Then, I guess, we'll tear other parts of the house apart in order to keep from ever finishing anything.
Ah- the creative spirit!

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6 Comments:

Blogger butch said...

Probably about ten years ago now, I bumped into the phrase "desktop publishing". What a novel idea, thought I. Good, bad, or indifferent, wouldn't it be great to circumnavigate the greedy assholes and agents and publishers and reviewers, and just "express yourself"? We you nailed that concept to the floor, man, cuz here we are out there in cyberspace just prattling away, day after day, bombarding and bombasting the multitudes with our thoughts, poetry, sarcasm, and most importantly, our humor.

You literary slut,you. I didn't really know who Richard Brautigan was, and then you start quoting him. Now I will probably have to break down and "read" some of his work. There are no movies about him, right? For the benefit of we ignorant schlematzals out here, I collected some data this morning:

Richard Gary Brautigan (January 30, 1935 – September 14 (?),[1] 1984) was an American writer, best known for the novel Trout Fishing in America.

The poet Michael McClure said of Brautigan's work, "There's nothing resembling it in American writing. It's as West Coast as a Douglas fir, but more broadly it's peculiarly American and Rube Goldbergian. This writing goes beyond eccentricity and into vision at times, and at others it is personal symptomology. It's not just a string of books ranging from witty and sensual to decadent and misbegotten, it's a rippling, flashing river for the critic and reader trout-fishers and gold-panners of the present and future to explore."

Contents [hide]
1 Life
2 Legacy
3 Books
3.1 Fiction
3.2 Poetry
4 References
5 External links



[edit] Life
Brautigan was born in Tacoma, Washington, and grew up in Eugene, Oregon, where he lived with his mother, siblings, and several stepfathers. Many of his childhood experiences were included in the poems and "novels" Brautigan wrote while in high school. In 1955 he was arrested for throwing a rock through a police-station window, supposedly in order to be sent to prison and fed. Instead he was sent to Oregon State Hospital and treated there with electroconvulsive therapy.

In 1956 Brautigan left Eugene for San Francisco, California, where he lived for the rest of his life, save for periods of time spent in Tokyo, Japan, and Montana. [1]. There he married Virginia Adler. Their daughter, Ianthe Elizabeth Brautigan, was born in 1960. The marriage broke up soon afterwards.

In San Francisco, Brautigan sought to establish himself as a writer and was known for handing out his poetry on the streets. His first published "book" was The Return of the Rivers (1957), a single poem, followed by two collections of poetry: The Galilee Hitch-Hiker (1958), and Lay the Marble Tea (1959).

During the 1960s Brautigan became involved in the burgeoning San Francisco counterculture scene, often appearing as a performance-poet at concerts and participating in the various activities of The Diggers. His first novel, A Confederate General from Big Sur (1964), met with no success when first published. But when his novel Trout Fishing in America was published in 1967, Brautigan was catapulted to international fame and labeled by literary critics as the writer best representative of the emerging counterculture. Brautigan's work became identified with the counterculture youth-movement of the late 1960s, even though he was said to be contemptuous of hippies (as noted in Lawrence Wright's article in the April 11, 1985 issue of Rolling Stone.)[2] Brautigan published four collections of poetry as well as another novel, In Watermelon Sugar (1968) during the decade of the 1960s. Also, in the spring of 1967, Brautigan was Poet-in-Residence at the California Institute of Technology.

During the 1970s Brautigan experimented with different literary genres as he published several novels and a collection of short stories. "When the 1960s ended, he was the baby thrown out with the bath water," said his friend and fellow writer, Tom McGuane. "He was a gentle, troubled, deeply odd guy." Generally dismissed by literary critics and increasingly abandoned by his readers, Brautigan's popularity waned throughout the late 1970s and into the 1980s. His work remained popular in Europe, however, and in Japan and Brautigan visited there several times.[3]

To his critics, Brautigan was willfully naive. Lawrence Ferlinghetti said of him, "As an editor I was always waiting for Richard to grow up as a writer. It seems to me he was essentially a naïf, and I don't think he cultivated that childishness, I think it came naturally. It was like he was much more in tune with the trout in America than with people."[4]


Listening to Richard BrautiganFrom late 1968 to February 1969, Brautigan recorded a spoken-word album for The Beatles' short-lived record-label, Zapple. The label was shut down by Allen Klein before the recording could be released, but it was eventually released in 1970 on Harvest Records as Listening to Richard Brautigan.[5]

Brautigan's writings are characterized by a remarkable and humorous imagination. The permeation of inventive metaphors lent even his prose-works the feeling of poetry. Evident also are themes of Zen Buddhism like the duality of the past and the future and the impermanance of the present. Zen Buddhism and elements of the Japanese culture can be found in his novels like The Tokyo-Montana Express and Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel.

In 1984, at age 49, Richard Brautigan died of a self-inflicted gunshot-wound in Bolinas, California. The exact date of his death is unknown, but it is speculated that Brautigan ended his life on September 14, 1984 after talking to Marcia Clay, a former girlfriend of his, on the telephone. Robert Yench, a private investigator, found Richard Brautigan's body on the living-room floor of his house on October 25, 1984.[6]

Brautigan once wrote, "All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds."

Gee, I guess you have a lot of "artist friends", myself included of course, that are looking forward to RETIREMENT so that they can spend some quality time with their art. I remember 40 years ago when I started being an actor, I thought that probably I would attain a modicum of fame, probably in films or on television, and then I would just mention to one of my many agents (the three agents I finally had after working for 10 years were all putzs and losers)that I was primarily a "Writer", and oh, by the way here is some of my poetry, and two manuscripts for unpublished novels, and dozens of film reviews, and some metaphysical meandering and philosopy and divers scatological comments, and some song lyrics, and my idea for a cat toy that I call the "Cat Fishing Pole". But my fantasies disapated into murky mist and nothingness and I had to work 50 years for a living regardless. I remember when I first met you, or just before, when I would sit on a log on Alki Beach and stare out at Blake Island, long before it became an Indian salmon baking tourist stop, thinking of the mansion built on it by Blake for his unfaithful and ungrateful young wife, considering that when my ship came in, when I made a pile of coin, I might just buy that island and become a writer; just stay up all night, and wake up to sound of surf and the smell of the beach, and beachcomb and write and take long naps, and enjoy fantastic success. Now I just want to retire and write some silly poems and some sillier film reviews and get busy watching the literally thousands of DVDs and VHs films in my basement. Since now there are more than 12,000 of them, I once calculated that it would take over 10 years to watch them all. I am one sick puppy, or so my wife tells me.

So happy to hear that the floor is coming along fine. Did you ever get a door on the downstairs bathroom? And yes, you minor league Da Vinci, you have always had creativity coming out of your pores. Let it flow, bub --cuz your loyal readership eats it up.

Glenn

5:55 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Hey it turns out that Richard Brautigan was a pretty good poet, very beat, very Zen. Here is some of his stuff for your perusal:

Richard Brautigan ~ Rommel Drives On Deep Into Egypt
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A WITCH BLOOM LIKE A HIGHWAY
Have you ever had a witch bloom like a highway
on your mouth? and turn your breathing to her
fancy? like a little car with blue headlights
passing forever in a dream?

THE MEMOIRS OF JESSE JAMES
I remember all those thousands of hours
that I spent in grade school watching the clock,
waiting for recess or lunch or to go home.
Waiting: for anything but school.
My teachers could easily have ridden with Jesse James
for all the time they stole from me.

FLORA SHAKESPEARE
Acting out the place where the flowers die,
circling their graves with themselves,
your costume is perfect, you're on stage.

15%
She tries to get things out of men
that she can't get because she's not
15% prettier.

ROMEO AND JULIET
If you will die for me,
I will die for you

and our graves will
be like two lovers washing
their clothes together
in a laundromat.

If you will bring the soap,
I will bring the bleach

LOVE'S NOT THE WAY TO TREAT A FRIEND
Love's not the way to treat a friend.
I wouldn't wish that on you. I don't
want to see your eyes forgotten
on a rainy day, lost in the endless purse
of those who can remember nothing.

Love's not the way to treat a friend.
I don't want to see you end up that way
with your body being poured like wounded
marble into the architecture of those who make
bridges out of crippled birds.

Love's not the way to treat a friend.
There are so many better things for you
than to see your feelings sold
as magic lanterns to somebody whose body
casts no light.

CANNIBAL CARPENTER
He wants to build you a house
out of your own bones, but
that's where you're living
any way!
The next time he calls
you answer the telephone with the
sound of your grandmother being
born. It was a twenty-three-hour
labor in 1894. He hangs
up.

DONNER PARTY
Forsaken, fucking in the cold,
eating each other, lost, runny noses,
complaining all the time like so
many people that we know.

FORMAL PORTRAIT
I like to think of Frankenstein as a huge keyhole
and the laboratory as the key that turns the lock
and everything that happens afterward as just the
lock turning.

-2
Everybody wants to go to bed
with everybody else, they're
lined up for blocks, so I'll
go to bed with you. They won't
miss us.

THE SISTER CITIES OF LOS ALAMOS, NEW MEXICO,
AND HIROSHIMA, JAPAN
It was snowing hard when we drove
into Los Alamos. There was a clinical feeling
to the town as if every man, woman and child
were a doctor. We shopped at the Safeway
and got a bag of groceries. A toddler
looked like a brain surgeon. He carefully
watched us shop at the exact place where he would
make his first incision.

NEGATIVE CLANK
He'd sell a rat's asshole
to a blindman for a wedding
ring.

JULES VERNE ZUCCHINI
Men are walking on the moon today,
planting their footsteps as if they were
zucchini on a dead world
while over 3,000,000 people starve todeath
every year on a living one.

Earth
July 20, 1969

6:04 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Hey Dougie, This Brautigan cat writes like YOU, or versa vica. Here are some more of his gems:

SHE SLEEPS THIS VERY EVENING IN GREENBROOK CASTLE
She sleeps this every evening in Greenbrook castle
without the comfort of husband,
and what she knows is what she dreams. He isn't dead
and he isn't alive,
and the crack of light beneath the door is like the tail
of a cat as she paces in her room.

She sleeps this very evening in Greenbrook castle
without the comfort of husband,
and what she knows is what she dreams. He isn't dead
and he isn't alive,
and the light in her window is like a wedding ring
shining to the dark and distant woods.

She sleeps this very evening in Greenbrook castle
without the comfort of husband,
and what she knows is what she dreams. He isn't dead
and he isn't alive,
and the light that reflects her golden hair is the answer
to her marriage and the children of her prayers.

YOU'LL HAVE TO BUY SOME MORE CHAIRS
If you love a statue start a mirror.
Your friends will admire you.
If you love a mirror start a statue.
Make room for new friends.

HINGED TO FORGETFULNESS LIKE A DOOR
Hinged to forgetfulness like a door,
she slowly closed out of sight,
and she was the woman that I loved,
but too many times she slept like
a mechanical deer in my caresses,
and I ached in the metal silence
of her dreams.

ALL GIRLS SHOULD HAVE A POEM
For Valerie

All girls should have a poem
written for them even if
we have to turn this God-damn world
upside down to do it.

New Mexico
March 16, 1969

CHOSEN BY BEAUTY TO BE A HANDMAIDEN OF THE STARS
Chosen by beauty to be a handmaiden of the stars,
she passes like a silver brush
across the lens of a telescope.
She brushes the stars, the galaxies
and the light-years into the order that
we know them.

30 CENTS, TWO TRANSFERS, LOVE
Thinking hard about you
I got onto the bus
and paid 30 cents car fare
and asked the driver for
two transfers
before discovering that I
was alone.

PLEASE
Do you think of me
as often as I think
of you?

THERE IS DARKNESS ON YOUR LANTERN
There is darkness on your lantern
and pumpkins in your wind.
and Oh, they clutter up your mind
with their senseless bumping
while your heart is like a sea gull
frozen into a long distance telephone
call.

I'd like to take the darkness
off your lantern and change the pumpkins
into sky fields of ordered comets
and disconnect the refrigerator telephone
that frightens your heart into standing
still.

PROFESSIONAL, NONOFFENSIVE, BLAND
The gunman holds the wind
in his hand.
Autumn and spring pass like robberies
across his eyes.
He doesn't blink while one stops leaves
and the other starts them.
The gunman is a friend to the changing
of the seasons.
He holds the wind in his hand.

YEAH, THERE WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE A JUNE 5, 1968
My telephone rang in the middle of the night,
but I didn't answer it. It rang and rang
and rang and SHUT UP! And rang as if it were
possessed.
I always figure that good news doesn't travel
in the middle of the night, so I didn't answer
the telephone.
I let it go to hell. I was right, too.
It was somebody calling to tell me that Kennedy
had been hit.

SHELLFISH
Always spend a penny
as if you were spending a
dollar
and always spend a dollar
as if you were spending
a wounded eagle and always
spend a wounded eagle as if
you were spending the very
sky itself.

MOUTHS THAT KISSED IN THE HOT ASHES OF POMPEII
Mouths that kissed
in the hot ashes of Pompeii
are returning
and eyes that could adore their beloved only
in the fires of Pompeii
are returning
and locked bodies that squirmed in ecstasy
in the lava of Pompeii
are returning
and lovers who found their perfect passion
in the death of Pompeii
are returning,
and they're letting themselves in
again with the names of your sons
and your daughters.

A LYRICAL WANT, AN ENDOCRINE GLAND FANCY
A lyrical want, an endocrine gland fancy,
a telescope that I thought had no thorns
have lead me to a pain that I cannot pronounce.
It gathers around me like a convention of translators
for a language that does not exist with all those meetings
to attend.

THE MOON VERSES US EVER SLEEPING TOGETHER AGAIN
I sit here, an arch-villain of romance,
thinking about you. Gee, I'm sorry
I made you unhappy, but there was nothing
I could do about it because I have to be free.
Perhaps everything would have been different
if you had stayed at the table or asked me
to go out with you to look at the moon,
instead of getting up and leaving me alone with
her.

TOO MANY LIFETIMES LIKE THIS ONE, RIGHT?
Too many lifetimes like this one, right?
Hungover, surrounded by general goofiness,
lonely, can't get it up, I feel just like
a pile of bleached cat shit.

COLOR AS BEGINNING
Forget love
I want to die
in your yellow
hair.

ALL SECRETS OF PAST TENSE HAVE JUST COME MY WAY
All secrets of past tense have just come my way,
but I still don't know what I'm going to do
next.

AS THE BRUISES FADE, THE LIGHTNING ACHES
As the bruises fade, the lightning aches.
Last week, making love, you bit me.
Now the blue and dark have gone
and yellow bruises grow toward pale daffodils,
then paler to become until my body
is all my own and what that ever got me.

AT LAST OUR BODIES COINCIDE
At last our bodies coincide.
I'll bet you thought this
would never happen. Neither
did I. It's a pleasant
surprise.

DEER TRACKS
Beautiful, sobbing, high-geared fucking
and then to lie silently like deer tracks
in the freshly-fallen snow beside the one
you love. that's all.

6:10 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

You, James Joyce and Brautigan are my major literary influences.

"15%" is about all of ys, isn't it, always wanting more and being surprised that we don't get it?

Wait, where are you going? I was going to make espresso!

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Woman-of-my-Dreams was a librarian (Speight calls her the "lovely librarian") before she retired to her garden-datscha and working as a usher at the State Theater (where I met her), so I ran the Brautigan Library idea by her; she finds it "Prima" (her word for anything "great"), but she wonders where they would put all the books!!
Last week we took a week's vacation on Usedom island, which Germany shares with Poland (the eastern most tip of northern Germany), so the "Lovely Librarian" visited the Biblioteka in Swinoujscie (Poland) on a day trip we took there. We were surprised/shocked! to see that they still use a card catalog, although they do have a computer at the check-out desk. Also, despite the city'y proximity (only 3 Km. from the border) to Germany, none of the personnel spoke German, so my friend communicated in Russian, im which she is fluent (it was the "2nd language" in the GDR days in which she was raised and worked; she was born in 1939). We both agree Polish food has it "all over" German (and, especially American-fast-food) cooking -- that is all German cooking except hers, which is "Prima"!!

2:21 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Doug:

Here is a little more from Brautigan. It has to do with fags and crows and making movies. I considered posting it under your RAVEN insert, but then it would be buried to deep to be noticed, or appreciated. So I will share it here, and hope you notice it. This writer is only about an inch shy of being another William S. Burroughs, by the way.

CROW MAIDEN
Starring a beautiful young girl and twenty-
three crows. She has blonde hair. The crows are
intelligent. The director is obsessed with the
budget (too low). The photographer has fallen
in love with the girl. She can't stand him. The
crows are patient. The director is a homosexual.
The girl loves him. The photographer
daydreams murder. "One hundred and seventy-
five thousand. I was a fool!" the director says
to himself. The girl has taken to crying a lot at
night. The crows wait for their big scene.

And you will go where crows go
and you will know what the crows know.

After you have learned all their secrets
and think the way they do and your love
caresses their feathers like the walls
of a midnight clock, they will fly away
and take you with them.

And you will go where crows go
and you will know what the crows know.

Pretty heavy stuff actually. Thanks to you, sir, I just blew $10.00 to Amazon.com, and I order TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA. I suppose you already have most of his works, but it will feed my love of the Beat poets, and salve my guilt for never having taken acid or dropping out in the 60's. I think I told you before, but in 1968, while I was still in the USN, in CA, I went to a "concert" put on by Timothy Leary. He dressed all in white, like a real guru, with his long white hair complimenting the outfit. He sat on a bare stage, surrounding by a thousand tall lit candles --and he just talked, and rapped, and recited poetry, and slammed the estblishment, and the Viet Nam War. I felt very drawn to him, and for a brief instant I understood the need some people have to become a disciple. If he had noticed me, which he didn't, pointed his long bony finger at me, and winked, and said,"Come with me, son." --I would have gone AWOL in a millisecond, and probably ended up in a federal penitentary being trained to be a rump ranger.

Glenn

6:58 AM  

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