kurt vonnegut R.I.P.

April 12, 2007

kurt vonnegut was the first writer that made a great life-long impression on me as a writer and a reader. i was in 7th grade the first time i picked up the paperbacks of Slaughterhouse Five and Breakfast of Champions. i didn’t know yet that pleasure that great was supposed to be unliterary, or that laughter that gutwrenching could count against the seriousness of the themes, as many would think.

no one has ever made so many people laugh so hard, over and over, at death, and no one ever wrote more directly and more satirically in the same sentence.

later, i read many of the other novels, understanding how it was that he could dismiss his writing with a laugh while at the same time knowing what greatness was from his own experiences as a writer.

i don’t believe for a second that in his life “everything was beautiful and nothing hurt,” but i do believe that he could sometimes see life that way, and so it was worth saving.