Monday, April 11, 2011

In Watermelon Sugar

I've accepted the Blogging A to Z Challenge. All month, I'm going to blog about Books from A to Z.

In my mind, Richard Brautigan sounds like Todd Pittman. Todd is the guy who introduced me to Richard Brautigan, and when four of us piled into a car to drive from Texas to Orange City, Iowa (for the Tulip Festival) Todd read Trout Fishing in America aloud to us.

In Watermelon SugarIt was so different from any other book I'd read. Brautigan had a distinctive voice, and if it wasn't literally Todd Pittman's voice, it was unique and appealing.

Over the years, I read more - most - of Brautigan's novels. I'd track them down in used book stores or find them in libraries. I bathed in the voice of Brautigan. 

But I held back on his last novel, So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away, because it apparently hinted of his suicide and when I finished it, I would be finished with Brautigan, and I didn't want to be finished.

But then, another, final posthumous novel, An Unfortunate Woman, came out. And I finally felt like I could read his first final novel. And I did. But I haven't read his new final novel. I still don't want Brautigan to end. But one day, I will read it and it will be over but Todd Pittman's voice will continue in my head.

I have not read much of Brautigan's poetry. 

If I were to reread Brautigan today, I would read In Watermelon Sugar. And I would read The Abortion. These two really cemented, for me, Brautigan's voice, his authorial voice, his Todd Pittman-inflected voice. It's a voice that stayed in my head, and when I was writing my great abandoned novel, it was the voice of my main character, Max.

Sometimes, I miss Max.

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