Thursday, April 12, 2007
God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut
Yesterday, one of the greatest literary minds of our time died. I don't know what I can say that would possibly give appropriate tribute to Kurt Vonnegut. That is why this post is largely fragmented thoughts in no particular order (I think Vonnegut would have liked it that way). I am glad that he was able to enjoy some of the recognition he deserved in his lifetime, an experience many of the greatest authors do not get to have. Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but I think that we grasp only a fraction of the power and influence Vonnegut will have that will trickle down through the generations. As part of a literary movement that redeemed the 20th century, Vonnegut's voice was truly unique. Even though we will miss him, he's probably in heaven right now, finally getting the answers he needed his whole life to the savagery of war and life on this planet that gave him what he needed to become a genius. And once he gets those answers, I'm sure he'll give God a hard time about the platypus. It is amazing that he lived as long as he did, given his insane amount of smoking. For this reason, I believe God sustained him to continue writing. 84 years are a lot for a man with his habits and suicidal depression. In his honor, I have made an exception to my rule of the blog image being unrelated to the content. Please share your favorite work of his and why.
Mine is Player Piano. Chuck Palahniuk has said that no author's first work is worth reading (a rule he is also the exception to). Vonnegut slides past such a maxim with ease and grace. Player Piano sets the foundation of themes that Vonnegut returned to his whole life. Yet he was never sedentary or redundant. He did break his own rule of writing (no suspense), but he can hardly be blamed with the resultant Player Piano.
I seriously will miss you, Kurt. But you live on in our hearts, and your works make you an immortal voice in our world. Thank you, and God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut.