In Honor of Brautigan, In Spite of Ferlinghetti

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I love Ferlinghetti’s “The Old Italians Dying.”

I hate his needlessly cruel and personal critique of Brautigan:

“As an editor, I always kept waiting for Richard to grow up as a writer,” he says now. “I never could stand cute writing. He could never be an important writer — like Hemingway — with that childish voice of his. Essentially he had a naif style, a style based on a childlike perception of the world. The hippie cult was itself a childlike movement. I guess Richard was all the novelist the hippies needed. It was a nonliterate age.”

Cute writing is the worst. But if I were to speculate on why Ferlinghetti felt the need to go the extra personal mile and call the people moved by Brautigan’s writing “nonliterate,” I suppose I’d be engaging in the kind of critique I find so pointless and distasteful.

I love this by Brautigan:

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Amy Bleuel;

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Amy Bleuel has passed away.

She raised awareness about ending stigmas associated with mental health issues.  She started Project Semicolon, an effort that has spread around the world and impacted thousands of people, many of whom are now tattooed with the ; symbol.

The idea was simple.  A semicolon is used when a writer could have used a period, ended a sentence, but didn’t.

In the United Church of Christ, we’ve had a saying for a while about never putting a period where God has placed a comma.  It’s our way of saying that God is still speaking, and it comes from Gracie Allen.

Obviously, there’s a close connection between Amy’s insights and Gracie’s.

I have resisted getting my own semicolon tattoo, because, as someone dealing with anxiety and OCD, I don’t like the idea of something on my body constantly reminding me of my anxieties, my obsessions, and my…

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