Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut Dies

All photos of Kurt Vonnegut (Posted by Lorac, Flickr)

Words cannot express my sorrow. As vonnegut wrote or said, "artists are like the canary in the coal mine. The canary keels over if there is a gas leak warning the miners to get out." Sort of an alarm system for the miners. We just lost a great alarm system, humanist, humorist, and very good man. Like he said in his novel, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, "Goddamnit! You'vegot to be kind." Lets remember that and him always.
His books changed my life. He was my greatest teacher. I look at the world and life differently because of his books. If you like my emails, and some of you have told me you do, you can thank Mr. Vonnegut. I stole his short sentence and short paragraph style from him. If you want to become kinder and gentler or view the world differently, and if you never read him, I highly recommend you do.

In his autobiography of sorts Palm Sunday, he gives a list of must read books. I read that book while living in London and started power housing through that list. A couple of years later, I was back in college after a ten year leave. He inspired me to finish my college education.

Kurt Vonnegut's drawing of an a**hole in Breakfast of the Champions (Posted by Andisheh on Flickr)

I still use an asterisk in front of names or after names of memos or notes I write to folks I don't like. Got that from his book Breakfast of Champions, he draws an asshole in that book that looks like an asterisk.

I miss him so. I left work early. I could not stop the water works. I compulsively read everything I could find on him on line. The best obit I read was the first I read in the L.A. Times by Elaine Woo. We just lost such a powerful and wonderful voice for our time. No one can replace him.

If you have not read him and are interested, here are some of my favorites:
Breakfast of Champions
God Bless You Mr. Rosewater
Palm Sunday
Slaughterhouse Five
Welcome to the Monkey House
Mother Night

I really wanted to meet him one day. I did send a birthday email this past year to In These Times. I told him in that email that I used his asterisk. I thanked him for everything.

Photo of Kurt Vonnegut running on beach on left, with wife, Jill Krementz, on right

1 comment:

Tom Robinson said...

Hi Mary,

I want to thank you for posting your lament for the passing of Kurt Vonnegut. Six-and-a-half years have passed since you wrote it, and I think it is more valuable to me now than it would have been the day he died. I was (obviously) a Vonnegut fan, but there is much I have yet to read. Your post has motivated me to go back and fill in the gaps in my education on the writings of my favorite coffee achiever. :)