My first encounter with Richard Brautigan was in a used bookstore in Lebanon, Indiana. I was on a run to pick up tractor parts for my husband, and had seen the bookstore's huge sign painted on the side of an old brick building. This kind of detour was a necessary part of my existence: living far from everything as I do, with a practical husband, I've learned that "there's no reason to make a special trip."
I was browsing the shelves when the owner, an obvious refugee of the 1960's, asked if he could help me find something. I asked if he knew of any other writers from the "Beat Generation," besides Jack Kerouac or Allen Ginsberg. While I liked Kerouac's early writings, some of his later stuff was too much for me, and I couldn't stomach Allen Ginsberg at all. (No, I will not apologize.)
He reached up and pulled from the shelf a copy of Trout Fishing in America. "It has nothing to do with trout fishing." he said. "Richard Brautigan is one of my favorites. I think you'll like him."
So I took Richard home, and proceeded to fall in love.
He's such a hippie.
But he was a hippie with a unique way of seeing things, and I love that in a writer. I can't type here my absolute very favorite line of his until I get home and pull it out of a book. So until then, here's a poem:
Spinning like a ghost
on the bottom of a
I'm haunted by all
the space that I
will live without