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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.


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.