Brautigan wrote the introduction to this collection of lyrics and over 100 photographs. Keith Abbott said this essay was a good example of Brautigan's inability to write journalism. For this assignment, like others, Abbot said Brautigan "spun out short, metaphorical fantasies" more dependent on his imagination, fueled by his friends and activities, for ideas than his ability to report on some event (Keith Abbott 88).
The full text of the introduction reads
Earlier this year here in Montana the Yellowstone River was flooding down below the Carter Bridge. The river kept rising day after day until it was flowing through houses. They became like islands in the river and there was a strange awkward loneliness to them because these were places where people had been living (laughing, crying, love and death) only a few days before and now they were just part of the Yellowstone River.Every time I passed by those houses on my way into town, I would get a very sad feeling and some words would come to mind. They were always the same words, "The silence of flooded houses." They repeated themselves over and over again. I soon accepted them as part of the way into town.I'll use those words for something, someday, I would think afterwards, but I didn't know what that something would be or when that day would come.Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in thechurch where the wedding has been,lives in a dream.Waits at the window, wearing the facethat she keeps in a jar by the door,Who is it for?Father McKenzie, writing the words of asermon that no-one will hear,No-one comes near.Look at him working, darning his socksin the night when there's nobody there,What does he care?Eleanor Rigby died in the church as wasburied along with her name.Nobody came.Father McKenzie, wiping the dirt fromhis hands as he walks from the grave.No-one was saved.One could say a million things about these songs. Your could go on for years talking about the Beatles. You could chop down a whole forest to make space for the pages.Some of the songs in this book are like the silence of flooded houses.This is all I have to say.Richard BrautiganPine Creek, MontanaOctober 11, 1974