Saturday, May 21, 2005

In Watermelon Sugar


Late 70's. I remember: Opuawhanga. Cold, wet winter afternoon. Earl Grey tea. Raging fire. Welcome warmth. A cat or two. Me, Brett, Alice. Taking turns. Reading aloud. Richard Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar. Perfect fit for that era. Crazy stuff. Such fun.

Try it for size. The opening few paragraphs:

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.

Richard Brautigan In Watermelon Sugar (first published 1968)

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home