Granary Books, 2015. Item #GB_165
6 1/2 x 9 in., 356 pp., smyth-sewn in wrappers.
Brakhage’s Childhood recounts the story of visionary American filmmaker Stan Brakhage’s (1933–2003) life up to age 12. In 1983, Stan and Jane Brakhage began a series of interviews wherein Stan described his life and Jane took notes. Each session yielded a chapter and each chapter usually a place. After each interview Jane organized, wrote and edited the stories. After two years they had 23 chapters in 100,000 words. “He had the most amazing memory I had ever encountered,” says Jane, who writes: “This is a biography of a child, taken from the memory of that child grown up. I can only assume that we stopped the interviews, stopped the book, stopped the marriage, at exactly the right moment. Stan and I worked together a lot in his medium; this time, we worked together in my medium.”
“Jane Wodening has given the nascent field of Brakhage studies a Rosetta Stone and a canonical text. Channeling her ex-husband (which is to say, taking him as a male muse) in this first-person account of his convoluted, Depression-era early life, she has produced a beautifully crafted analogue or prequel to Scenes From Under Childhood. Brakhage’s movie memories are crucial as are his memories of singing hosannas in an Episcopal church. The notion that, as an adopted child, he imagined that he might have been fathered by Thomas Wolfe, complete with circumstantial evidence, is material for a dissertation in itself. ‘We forget of what great intellectual accomplishments and of what complicated emotions a child of four years is capable,’ Freud wrote in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. Brakhage’s Childhood helps remind us.”
Introduction by P. Adams Sitney, afterword by Tony Pipolo. Book and cover design by Diane Bertolo of Lotus + Pixel. This is from an edition of 700 copies. As new.
ABOUT JANE WODENING: "I was brought up in a prudish little suburb of Chicago until I was eleven then my parents and my brother and I moved to Fraser, Colorado, which was at that time a copper-mining town sinking into oblivion. The change was startling to me and I found friendships easier with dogs than with people. They seemed to understand me better than people did. There were a few years of annual travels within Colorado and finally we made a house out of our summer cabin outside of Boulder and I went to Boulder High School.
I tried college but when my brother wanted a ride to New York City, I dropped out and spent a few months getting educated in New York City.
A couple of years later, I married film artist Stan Brakhage and we traveled for a few years then settled in Lump Gulch at nine thousand feet altitude where we lived for twenty-three years with five children and room for a yard full of animals, my delight. Stan and I were together for thirty years.
For the past two or three years I've been living in Denver, quilting, gardening, writing short stories, and working on another book. Life is good." –Jane Wodening, Nov. 2006.