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Mpls, MN, United States

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

"So it goes"

Alas; Kurt Vonnegut has died. I heard the news on the BBC last night as I was flossing, and felt sad.

I haven't read all that much Vonnegut, actually: just Welcome to the Monkey House, Slaughterhouse Five, and parts of Slapstick--although I do own Cat's Cradle, after digging it out of the book bin at the Bowling Green recycling station. However, the first is quite possibly the most amazing short story collection I have ever encountered; though I first read it nearly 15 years ago, I continue to be haunted (in a most pleasant way) by visions of the democratization of physical and intellectual ability, a man's body wandering into the waves while his mind remains apart and endures independently, and a machine that creates an effect similar to "walking by a burning field of marijuana."

The paint mixing boy I met in December also mentioned having attended a lecture Vonnegut gave on a college campus. He related that during the question and answer period afterward, an obsequious student had delivered an obnoxiously hero-worshipping speech in the guise of a question, concluding, "How do you write such amazing material?" Paint Boy said that Vonnegut had silently stared down the sycophant, before slowly declaring, "I am... what they call... a genius." I, of course, agree.

Several months ago, I had looked online for a paperback copy of Welcome to The Monkey House like my parents', the first one I'd read, with a light brown cover and a picture of a male and female monkey reaching out through black bars. While the 1990s reprints were selling for two or three dollars, the older version I wanted started at $12, even though they were much older and worn, and were probably 75 cents brand new. Now I wish I'd gone ahead and shelled out the cash then, because these days I can't seem to find one at any price--and it's just going to get harder. Wendy, if you find one, will you let me know?

As usual, the New York Times has an excellent obituary. Hi ho.

3 comments:

Voth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Voth said...

I tried to leave you a link, it didn't work so well. I'll post it on my blog.

april said...

i too would like to walk by a burning field of marijuana.