my dear uncle Richard’s opinion of Ophelia’s death

Richard Brautigan said that Ophelia didn’t drown. He said she fell in the water and her dresses bore her up. Before she had time to drown a man took her out of the water and raped her to death. He threw her back in the water for everyone to believe she drowned. Denmark didn’t have Medical Examiners worth a damn in those days so I’m forced to admit this is possibly the way it happened.

I hated that idea. How creepy. How awful. It made Hamlet 20 times the tragedy it had been before I knew that Ophelia didn’t really drown. It’s one thing to go crazy and drown but… I can’t even write it again. Yuck.

There is something else I want to address about her death. They always tell us writers to write what we know. Except for Jules Verne. He just said: “Go for it! If you can’t afford a ticket to the moon and they aren’t hiring WW I ambulance drivers in Italy anymore, just make that crazy shit up. Go for it!” What a terrific guy Mr. Verne sounds like.

Science fiction writers are always terrific. I’ve met Zelazny and George R. R. Martin and they were both terrific even with too many middle names. William Gibson is especially terrific. He will embarrass you with his extreme nerdiness but he’s just as cool as his writing. He simply will not let you pick up a check.

Most normal writers call science fiction writers names and tell you to write what you know and forget about those creepy nerds who write about the future. You could say they see no future in science fiction but you might get punched for it because many people who aren’t even writers find puns distasteful enough to resort to violence.

Anyway. The line from Hamlet is about how her dresses bore her up for awhile. She hit the water then she didn’t sink because her dresses bore her up. I never thought about that but once you hear it of course it’s true. They bore her up. How in the fuck did Shakespeare know that?

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