Happy Birthday Richard

Today would have been Richard’s 77th birthday. We miss you & your voice.

How will you remember him today? You can read some of the samples we have on the site or check out these videos:

List to his daughter Ianthe, read One Afternoon in 1939

or listen to Richard read All Watched over by Machines of Loving Grace

Personally, I think I’ll be reading a few chapters of In Watermelon Sugar before bedtime. 🙂

almost meeting richard

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!!!!


over the years, people have shared, with me and the mailing list, their memories of richard. some have met him while others write about how his work touched them.

i’m working on a “memories” page for stories about meeting richard or what his works have meant to you. if you have such a story, please feel free to add it.

you can add by clicking on ‘memories’ in the navigation on the side or the ‘comment’ link above this post (if you don’t see a text box below). if there is a text box below, then go ahead & type away!