Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kurt Vonnegut, I love you

I have written of my love of Kurt Vonnegut on previous posts but I started his next to last book today called Armageddon in Retrospect, and it has caused me to want to tell you all how much Vonnegut means to me.

I read my first Vonnegut about 5 years ago and that was by reading Slaughterhouse Five. We didn't read it in High School, which I now understand was a shame and that high schoolers who get the privilege are lucky. It prompted a post about the book and also a search for all the Vonnegut I could get my hands on. I now own about 85% of his works and have read quite a few, but not all. I like my Vonnegut in doses.

The thing I enjoy most about Kurt Vonnegut, and maybe this turns others off to his works, is the way he puts the words on paper. They enjoy the asides of writing that allow a simple conversation to be in progress and then have it deviate with a few marks to become a smart comment on how things don't make sense. Then right back to the story as if it weren't interrupted.

He also mixes realism with fantasy in a way that no one else I have ever read has been able to do. To have chapters set in a war and then find the main character has been transported to an alien planet where he and an actress are being studied, and then having him flash back was something I didn't expect or could have come up with myself. Chuck Palahniuk is the closest writer to come to this level of genius/madness, which is probably why I also own everything he has written.

I really wanted to share a quote from one of the stories in the book that is actually from a speech written for a commencement at Clowes Hall, Indianapolis. "...If anyone here should wind up on a gurney in a lethal injection facility, maybe the one at Terre Haute, here is what your last words should be: "This will certainly teach me a lesson."

You could always understand what Vonnegut meant or felt from such a small amount of words. They always say more that what is on the page.

The day he died I was sitting at my computer at work and it flashed across the screen and I cried. I don't get emotional about a lot of things but this was one of those times where if someone had come up to me I would have been proud to show this emotion as it was a loss that really did affect me. I can't say that about many other things.

That is all,


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