Richard Brautigan stierf in 1984. Een agent had een privéliterair detective ingeschakeld om hem op te sporen. Er lag een contract voor hem klaar. Maar hij had zich voordat hij dat kon tekenen door zijn hoofd geschoten. Hij was maar 49. Ik herlees zijn romans om de paar jaar. Het is elke keer alsof je iets nieuws onder ogen krijgt. Soms wordt hij een ‘hippieschrijver’ genoemd. Daarmee doe je hem een beetje tekort. Hij is een dichter in proza. Zijn romans gaan overal over en flitsen door je geest als een kogel door, nou ja, dat is misschien niet de juiste metafoor in dit geval. Hieronder het eerste hoofdstuk van In watermelon sugar. Hij schrijft ‘travelled’ en niet ‘traveled’, dus dat heb ik overgenomen.
In watermelon sugar the deeds were done and done again as my life is done in watermelon sugar. I’ll, tell you about it because I am here and you are distant.
Wherever you are, we must do the best we can. It is so far to travel, and we have nothing here to travel, except watermelon sugar. I hope this works out.
I live in a shack near iDEATH. I can see iDEATH out the window. It is beautiful. I can also see it with my eyes closed and touch it. Right now it is cold and turns like something in the hand of a child. I do not know what that thing could be.
There is a delicate balance in iDEATH. It suits us.
The shack is small but pleasing and comfortable as my life and made from pine, watermelon sugar and stones as just about everything here is.
Our lives’ we have carefully constructed from watermelon sugar and then travelled to the length of our dreams, along roads lined with pines and stones.
I have a bed, a chair, a table and a large chest that I keep my things in. I have a lantern that burns watermelontrout oil at night.
That is something else. I’ll tell you about it later. I have a gentle life.
I go to the window and look out again. The sun is shining at the long edge of a cloud. It is Tuesday and the sun is golden.
I can see piney woods and the rivers that flow from those piney woods. The rivers are cold and clear and there are trout in the rivers.
Some of the rivers are only a few inches wide.
I know a river that is half-an-inch wide. I know because I measured it and sat beside it for a whole day. It started raining in the middle of the afternoon. We call everything a river here. We’re that kind of people.
I can see fields of watermelons and the rivers that flow through them. There are many bridges in the piney woods and in the fields of watermelons. There is a bridge in front of this shack.
Some of the bridges’ are made of wood, old and stained silver like rain, and some of the bridges are made of stone gathered from a great distance and built in the order of that distance, and some of the bridges are made of watermelon sugar. I like those bridges best.
We make a great many things out of watermelon sugar here—I’ll tell you about it—including this book being written near iDEATH.
All this will be gone into, travelled in watermelon sugar.