Friday, January 30, 2009

Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan wrote several short novels, among them "Trout Fishing in America" which wasn't about trout or fishing. I always got a laugh when I saw it mis-shelved in book stores under the game and wildlife section.

Brautigan didn't actually mention fishing at all in that book, as I recall. He used the words "Trout Fishing in America" as a slogan that the 6th graders wrote on the backs of unsuspecting 1st graders as a playground prank. No one, including the "Trout Fishing in America Terrorists" knew why they chose that slogan. One kid had a piece of chalk, grabbed a 1st grader and wrote it on his back. Soon all of the 1st graders had it on their backs and the principal dragged in all the usual suspects. (ie. The kids who actually did it).

The book wasn't about terrorism or about fishing, it was just a really odd, very good book. His books were very episodic, though loosely strung together with a main storyline or theme.
I was fortunate enough to see him speak at the University of Southern Mississippi and got him to sign my books. He committed suicide shortly after that.

It interests me that Garrison Keeler mentioned him today in his daily broadcast. Way to go, Garrison!

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