Richard Brautigan's 8-Pound Typewriter

Feb 14, 2013

For the UALR English Department, this is J. Bradley Minnick with Facts About Fiction.

“Spinning like a ghost on the bottom of a top, I’m haunted by all the space that I will live without you."

Richard Brautigan wrote the well-known novel Trout Fishing In America and the small masterpieces Confederate General at Big Sur and So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away. In 1955, he lost his love, sold his typewriter and was arrested.

Here are the facts:

On December 14, 1955, after imagining the literary grandeur of a new set of small poems, Richard Brautigan marched into the police station in Eugene, Oregon, and announced he was insane. When the officer told him to go away, he went outside and mightily tossed a rock through the front window.

The Register-Guard reported the story like a Richard Brautigan poem: “A Eugene man who said he wanted to go to jail, got his wish Wednesday night.”

Afterward, in the psych-ward, he continued to write poetry in pencil in a small sprawling hand.