The Brautigan Library in Vancouver, Washington is the home of failed manuscripts. Here rejection doesn’t exist and, it would follow, it is the place where a writer needs no talent to be part of the literary community.
Such an institution is necessary, according to its current curator, John Barber, for “If you rummaged through the sock drawers of every person in American…you could fill this building with thousands of failed dreams.” (“Man Underwater” by Wes Enzinna, Harper’s, 9/12/ pgs. 77- 80.)
The institution is named for the author Richard Brautigan, a man who first failed in his career, then briefly succeeded only to fail again and again. Having made a fortune from two novels, he lived a debauched life, ran through his money and died penniless. The library is dedicated to his memory and gives sanctuary to the dashed dreams of other would-be authors.
Recently, the Brautigan has stopped accepting submissions. It’s shelves are overflowing. But new hope lies on the horizon. Since 2008, and for the first time in human history, “the number of books self-published has surpassed the number of books published commercially…”(Ibid pg. 80.) Thanks to technology, the genius of failed writers may yet escape the sock drawer and find immortality and in the Cloud.
(Courtesy of www.cchmuseum.org)