Saturday, April 14, 2007
In Memoriam: KV
I was raised on Kurt Vonnegut, I've grown to middle age with him. I feel as if I know him better than my own father, who died shy of his 50th birthday, when I was in my mid 20s. It was easy for me to adopt Vonnegut after my dad's death. I was drawn to his ethos, which insisted that human beings can be decent, kind, and loving to one another independent of group-think organized religion and lockstep nationalism. He was the first important author with whom I fell in love (I can't include Poe, who scared the pants off me at age 9, or the transcendent William Blake - who had a profound influence on Vonnegut, but who I didn't learn to love until I was much older). So at some level his death represents a kind of re-enactment of my father's death, as it might have hit me had he lived til now. I will miss Kurt because he STILL had important things to say to me. He was still relevant, years after his "literary prime." As with the aftermath of my father's death, I know that I will be able to take solace in happy memories and lessons learned. I can revisit old works, still vibrant and full of ideas I've yet to ponder as I move closer to being an old man. But it'll not be the same.Listen, Kurt Vonnegut is dead. So it goes.