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.

4 comments:

drmagoo said...

I went to the library today to try to pick up some Vonnegut, and it was all checked out.

schmidlap said...

Rabble, did you ever read Galapagos?

I envision KV now, hanging out among us like the ghost/narrator did, watching us devolve into seal-like creatures over the next 10,000 years.

I'm Not Ned said...

Kurt V., unlike so many of us, has left a mark on the World for the future generations. He lived a long life, but also a full life. A life full of experiences we could never survive. He lived to write stories that touched us and made us think. This are things that a select few aspire to and most will not succeed at.

I am better off that he has lived.

There is only one question that he leaves me with; Has there been a better day?

(The semicolon is dedicated to the memory of Kurt Vonnegut.)

Rousing Rabble said...

I loved Galapagos. It was a book that reflected its times. It was the finest work of his Autumnal period. And to your point, he really did get it! He understood just how intensely destructive a being with an opposable thumb and a big brain can be...