Thursday, April 12, 2007

So it goes

I arrived at work yesterday and fired up my pc, rolling into Google as I usually do, only to see a small headline from the BBC announcing the death of Kurt Vonnegut Jr, the writer, aged 84. The word 'Oh!' jumped from my mouth as I read the story on the BBC.

Kurt Vonnegut's novels were introduced to me by the Bean, who has raved about Slaughterhouse Five for as long as I can remember. I recently re-read it along with Joseph Heller's Catch 22 for a fix of anti-war literature in these crazy times. I loved Kurt Vonnegut from the first sentence I read of his - the first novel I read of his was Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday. From Vonnegut I learnt the importance of finding and honouring my own voice, above all else. A writer's job is to tell their truth and trust that others - probably just some others - will understand. One of my favourite pieces of advice for writers was from him: Pity the Readers.

Because Vonnegut had a unique and entirely authentic voice, he occupied each novel he wrote as much as he created it. This may be one of the central reasons I am so saddened by his death, because he cannot be replaced.

If you've never read a Vonnegut novel, sort it out - Portsmouth library service has loads and there's no excuse for it. You probably won't be able to get hold of any now. I certainly intend to spend the next few months reading every thing he ever wrote, including shopping lists if I can find them on ebay.

The rest of today's blog is dedicated to just some of the fine words of Kurt Vonnegut.

A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.

Belief is nearly the whole of the Universe, whether based on truth or not.

How embarrassing to be human.

If there is a god, he sure hates people. That’s all I can say.

We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.

Many people need desperately to receive this message: "I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people don't care about them. You are not alone."

As in my other works of fiction: All persons living and dead are purely coincidental, and should not be construed. No names have been changed in order to protect the innocent. Angels protect the innocent as a matter of Heavenly routine.

My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse."

Goodbye Blue Monday

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