Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ianthe and Richard Brautigan

photograph by Edmund Shea

This is a cropped (cropper unknown) image from the cover of Trout Fishing in America, The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, In Watermelon Sugar New York: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1969.

I saw Richard Brautigan speak at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, some time in October of 1981. I don't remember much about what he said, but I enjoyed his books and was happy to have had the chance to see him while I was passing through.

I remember the Q&A afterward quite clearly. I usually don't ask questions at lectures and readings, but I wanted to know something about his writing process. I asked him if he wrote more 'stream of consciousness' or if he did a lot of rewriting. Innocent enough question. He got rather bent out of shape about it, exclaiming that he was a professional and a craftsman and worked very hard at it. It got personal.

His overt defensiveness seemed to indicate some serious personality issues and arrive from an ongoing thought-stream where these sorts of questions were posed before, likely with deprecatory insinuations. Sad thing is, I agree with him, as I am all for taking pains, rewriting and craftsmanship. I certainly hit a sore spot and paid the price for it. One of my favorite writers slammed me and he had completely misconstrued my intentions. I don't like to admit it, but I never read anything by Richard Brautigan after that.

An Interview with Ianthe Brautigan
Brautigan Bibliography and Archive
for the thumb there's the Richard Brautigan wiki

via the always intriguing benhästen

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