eleventh strawberry

... terminates his childhood

12 strawberries
    He said he felt like
he had seen and done everything.
    John F. Barber

»I don't see him anywhere.«
»I guess he's gone.«
»Maybe he went home.«

Richard Brautigan, So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away, last page, Houghton Mifflin


These are the last three lines from Richard Brautigans last book of 1982. On 25th Oktober, 1984 Richard Brautigan is found dead in his house in Bolinas, California. He has a gunshot wound, beside him lies a gun.
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He was, I believe, fatally disappointed over the lack of acclaim for his books, especially his most recent »So the Wind Won't Blow it All Away«. He said that novel had been in his head for 17 years and that he worked very hard to write it. When it was not accepted and acclaimed by the critics or the reading public he felt misunderstood and alienated.

John F. Barber, Richard Brautigan - An Annotated Bibliography, p. 5

 
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»So the Wind Won't Blow it All Away« concentrates on one and only topic: Death. A boy with some cash on the pocket decides for bullets instead for a Hamburger. On shooting apples in an orchard he deadly hurts his friend by mistake.

I arrived at the place where their living room would be set up at the pond's edge just about a minute or so before they got there.

While the minute passes before they get here with their furniture, there will be a huge INTERRUPTION like a black wet Titanic telegram or a telephone call that sounds like a man with a chain saw cutting up a cemetry at midnight or just the very rude distraction of death itself, the final end of all childhoods including mine which started to dramatically begin its descent when I passed the restaurant that February rainy afternoon in 1948 and should have gone inside and gotten a hamburger and a coke. I was hungry, too. They would have been a welcome addition to my existence.

There was not a single reason in the world for me to walk past the restaurant and look in the window of the gun shop next door. But I did and the dice were getting ready to be thrown.

Richard Brautigan, So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away, p. 70/71, Houghton Mifflin


Whether the deadly accident is based on an actual childhood experience isn't obvious. Keith Abbott mentions that Richard Brautigan told sometimes a similar story, but whether this is based on own experiencing or by hearsay can't be said no more.

The circumstances of Richard Brautigans death could likewise point on an accident with a gun, but Keith Abbott is sure: Richard Brautigan prepared his suicide systematically.

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I talked to some of his friend in San Francisco ... Several only knew that Richard told them not to come looking for him in Bolinas, since he was definitely returning to Montana. ... The fact that he carefully told Becky Fonda in Montana that he was not returning indicates the design for his suicide. And his last act before leaving Montana - giving Tom McGuane a wrapped package containing a funeral urn and telling him he'd have instructions when this was needed - can't be more clear. While in Bolinas, Brautigan made a phone call to a book dealer about selling off his manuscripts, claiming that he wanted to set up a trust fund for his daughter.

Keith Abbott, Downstream from trout fishing in America, p. 139

 
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Is this now the end of Richard Brautigan? No, there's one strawberry left ...
10  <-  11  ->  12
all berries
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