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Thursday, November 30, 2023
Nov. 30, 2023

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Bits and Pieces: It comes with ‘mayonnaise’

By , Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter

The Brautigan Library has been bringing quite a bit of attention to the museum lately. The December issue of Harper’s Magazine includes a five-page essay, “Man Underwater: The democratic fiction of Richard Brautigan.”

The author, Wes Enzinna, described visiting Vancouver in May. It gave him a chance to see the Brautigan Library’s unique approach to cataloging: the Mayonnaise System. It’s a nod to Brautigan’s novel “Trout Fishing in America,” in which the Washington native wrote that he always wanted to end a book with the word “mayonnaise.” The Mayonnaise System catalogs submissions according to 13 categories including “humor,” “war and peace,” “love,” “adventure,” “meaning of life” and “all the rest.”

The library has another magazine-based claim to fame. In April 2011, a team from a Japanese high-end style magazine — Huge — visited the Brautigan Library. The team met with Barber, and the Brautigan Library was part of an article on the West Coast in Huge’s July 2011 issue.

Brautigan grew up in Tacoma and died in 1984 in California at age 49. His body was found in his secluded home about a month after he shot himself. News accounts indicated that Brautigan had been depressed as U.S. audiences lost interest in his work.

The collection of all-comers’ manuscripts in the Clark County Historical Museum is a small nod to depressed authors everywhere.

The Brautigan Library, Barber told Harper’s essayist Enzinna, is “a place where rejection doesn’t exist.”

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