Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday from complications stemming from a fall he endured about a week ago. Clearly, Vonnegut was a revered writer, speaker, and all-around personality. (Who could forget his cameo in Rodney Dangerfield’s classic film, “Back to School?”) I read Slaughterhouse Five many years ago. But I’ll admit that I don’t remember much about it. I’ll have to do what always happens when a good writer dies, and buy his works along with everyone else. Apparently, since reports of his passing broke, Slaughterhouse Five has jumped into the top 10 on Amazon’s list of top sellers.

I wonder if If Cats Could Talk: The Meaning of Meow will make that sort of jump when I die.

Anyway, I sorta thought it would be cool to post some Vonnegut quotes in honor of his life’s work.

~Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be.

~I really wonder what gives us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours.

~I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.

~If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you’re a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.

~It is a very mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead.

~Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.

~People don’t come to church for preachments, of course, but to daydream about God.

~The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.

~Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.

~Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?

~What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.

~Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.

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I would like to think that I’m capable of writing in a style similar to that of Kurt Vonnegut. Of course, I’d like to think that I’m capable of all sorts of things. Once the dedication to my craft truly hits me, I’ll have my picture taken in an amusement park airplane, too.

Thanks for the work you’ve left behind, Mr. Vonnegut, and thanks for the work you’ve yet to inspire.

2 thoughts on “Kurt Vonnegut

  1. Vonnegut has been a huge influence on me ever since I read Slaughterhouse Five in college. If you’d like to borrow any of the books, I have them all. Galapagos and Bluebeard are my favorites if you’re interested in going with some of the lesser known ones.

    It’s a huge loss, indeed.

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