On Kurt Vonnegut

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, April 13, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut died this week. April 11th. I didn’t even know.

I’d been doing the hermit thing. Ignoring the tv, more or less ignoring the telephone. I’ve been in touch with a few of my friends via cyberspace, but only because I’ve been writing and I was at the computer anyway. It’s not as if I knew the man personally, so I suppose it’s not surprising that I didn’t know. But god. I feel like I should have known. As if there should have been a ripple throughout the universe that should have reached as far as my place in Texas.

Heh. I guess I felt that Billy Pilgrim should have stopped in on my living room to drop me a line or something. Silly me.

Most people (I like to think) read a lot of books over the course of their lives. If they’re lucky, a decent percentage of those books will be good, and a smaller percentage will be the stories you pack every time you move because you can’t bear to throw them away.

But, really, there will only be a handful that will change how you see writing, how you see the whole world.

Kurt Vonnegut wrote one of those books for me. (“for me.” You see why I thought Billy would come by to hand deliver notice of his creator’s death.) It was called Slaughterhouse-Five. It was assigned to me in college. I wasn’t thrilled. Hell, I’d never even heard of the man before then. But when I cracked it open…

The prose was simple, straightforward, so easy to read. Yet it pried open my worldview fast enough to cause physical pain.

Now, that’s writing. And now he’s gone.

I found out because amazon.com sent me a splash advertisement “Remembering Kurt Vonnegut.” If I’d had a say in the matter, I would have chosen a different way to find out. A pilgrim of time and space, definitely, or even a headline on my online newspaper. Surely the death of an icon would have qualified as news? I’ve got to check out my settings.

I’m babbling now. I tend to do that. What do I want to say here?

Thank you for changing my life. I miss you, but we all live forever, no matter how dead we may sometimes seem… right? So you should know that you made a great many of my moments fantastic, and I hope you’re reliving your best days now.

I guess that’s it.

So it goes.

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