there’s a video on youtube which features some of ‘listening to richard brautigan’ and gives a good primer on his work. if you’re new to richard, definitely check out the video
oliva is working on an adaptation of the ‘abortion’. she’s aiming for an early 2008 debut (in san fran).
as part of the production, she is asking for book contributions. not copies of ‘the abortion’ but your very own book which you would like to add to a library like the one in richard’s story. she’s hoping to send the contributions to the brautigan library (which i think is still in limbo waiting for the SF public library to take on the project).
in 1990, todd lockwood opened ‘the brautigan library’ based on the library in richard brautigan’s book, ‘the abortion’. for those that don’t know, the library in the book was special – the works were not published in the traditional way. people simply dropped off their own writing for the libary. no publisher required.
it makes me think richard would have loved the internet where we can all publish our own works, file them under whatever category we want, and allow others to read them. the librarian’s role (in ‘the abortion’ and in today’s libraries) is changing quite a bit to adjust to the cultural changes of what ‘publishing’ and ‘libraries’ mean.
anyway… back to todd… between 1990-1996 todd accepted manuscripts the same way the library in ‘the abortion’ did. phyiscally located in vermont, he collected 325 manuscripts. todd’s library was last being housed at the fletcher free library until they needed more space.
the library can’t be visited anymore. it’s a bit in limbo. the san francisco public library might be the new home but nothing has been confirmed yet.
there’s a fantastic article covering the library’s history and future published september 27 2004 in the boston globe. i didn’t realise they used actual jars of mayonaise as book ends. that’s fantastic!
i saw this post on brendan garvey ‘s blog the other nite & he’s given me permission to re-post here.
it’s a great story his dad has told about (almost) meeting richard. and brendan conveys the story with just the right tinge of brautigan sound (i didn’t mention that to him. wonder if that was on purpose?)
richard brautigan fishing in america
when my dad was in his 30’s he lived in Oakland. He showed me the house he used to own in East Oakland. “I had it all figured out. The neighborhood was about to change for the better…the Fruitville BART station had just been built and I was going to make a bundle of money on rising real estate costs.”
No such luck.
At the time Richard Brautigan was living, working and generally making a big splash in San Francisco. My dad was a big fan. My dad had a slick government job, but he wasn’t a complete square. He travelled in similar social circles as Richard Brautigan, and discovered he had a few mutual friends. He let them know he wanted to meet the author.
So one day some friends call him up and told him that richard brautigan was coming over for dinner, and they invited him over as well. “But hurry up,” they said, “he’ll be here lickedy split.” He hopped in his car and drove across the Bay Bridge.
Of course there was traffic. And then he got lost. Of course he did. He got to his friends’ house and came in, beaming, relaxing, glowing to meet richard brautigan. But no such luck. richard brautigan had eaten, entertained, said his piece and hurried on with richard brautigan’s life.
i asked if his dad ever did end up meeting richard & his reply was:
nope. but he did claim to have met marcia clay a few times. “She was a very sweet woman. Very understanding and soft spoken. I had dinner with her…well, with her and a few other people.”
and he gave a general impression of brautigan, which he said came from talking about the writer with his friends. Brautigan coming down the coast from tacoma, washington where he lived every few months with some more work to sell. Then, according to pops, brautigan would drink his way through the money he had made, bottom out and then go back up to tacoma to write some more.
“Each time he came back with more work, all my friends said they were amazed. He was such a mess, they said, how could he write?” said dad.
who knows with my old man. he proudly declares himself a part of the american tall tale tradition.
brendan – thanks a ton for letting me re-post this!!. sounds like your dad needs a blog too!!!!
as today (jan 30th) would have been richard’s 71st birthday, take a few minutes to read your favourite story or remember him in someway. feel free to click the ‘comments’ button and tell us how you’re going to do that.