What really knocks me out is a book that,
when you're all done reading it,
you wish the author that wrote it was
a terrific friend of yours and you could call him
up on the phone whenever you felt like it.
That doesn't happen much, though."
-- Holden Caulfield in 'The Catcher in the Rye'
Richard Brautigan grew up in the Pacific Northwest, the same richly wooded territory that later produced David Lynch, Matt Groening and Kurt Cobain. Brautigan, who fits like a glove into the region's pantheon of weird brilliance, was born on January 30, 1935 in Tacoma, Washington.
His mother moved the family to a shack in Eugene, Oregon, where Brautigan spent his childhood. The utter poverty of his "white-trash" upbringing seems to have affected him deeply. Many who knew him later in life noticed that he he never spoke the names of any family members or anybody else he knew as a child.
Transcendentalism. What does it mean? According to a book called 'Masterpieces of Literature', edited by Frank N. Magill, the Transcendentalists had "a healthy irreverence for secondhand customs and beliefs, especially those transplanted to America from England ... a desire to mend the supposed split between God and man in order to glorify God-man, and they insisted that Christ be seen as a historical personage, a man ..." This was around the 1840's.