Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I Can't Believe Kurt Vonnegut Died

Truth is I suppose I can't believe he was alive still.. and yet, now suddenly on hearing of his death I can't believe he died.

He had a profound effect on me.. what exactly it was I am not quite sure but he was truly a one and only, original mind. Well... a true example of many of the original minds of his generation but still... original.

I remember the first time I picked up a Vonnegut novel. I was very young and in a Drug store that had a real breakfast counter with paperback novels on a wire wrack that spun around and around while you waited for your eggs easy over to be finished being cooked beyond the point of "over easy" ... Bird Road, SW Miami... Red Road and Bird Road probably or somewhere close by...

I wandered off away from my mother and father and two baby brothers and in an attempt to feel mature and intellectual I picked up a paperpack copy of Cat's Cradle. Boy, did I feel mature, wise... artsy, creative, cool... opened it up, started reading... hadn't the faintest clue what was going on but his playful words and funky characters called out to me and being the stubborn Capricorn I was I bought the book and figured to myself if I took it home and read it long enough it would make some sense. It never really did to my very young mind but it was cool as hell.. and he took me out beyond the safe boundaries of what we were reading in our English book ... he was no Nathaniel Hawthorne.. let me tell you.

Okay... so it wasn't about the James Taylor Song but it was about a sort of coming of age of a young girl reaching out to read things different, beyond the boundaries of life on Bird Road in Southwest Miami. It wasn't Shakespear, it wasn't The Godfather and it wasn't some Victoria Holt novel about some girl named Cassandra who was working her way through India as a governess who duh fell in love with the handsome lord of the manor... it was wild and crazy and funny and at times you felt like you were reading snippets of a poem he wanted to write so pretended to write a story so he could play with words or our minds.

Mind you I was slow back then, naive... I read that scene in the Godfather where they make love at the wedding against the wall about five times trying to figure it out and make heads or tails of it... and even that made more sense to me than Cat's Cradle but life is about trying to make sense of things that don't make sense.. and we string all those events of our life that make no sense in any rational way into a little Cat's Cradle ..

I knew I wanted to be a writer and write cool stuff that teased the mind and tantalized the senses, playing with words the way Tennessee Williams played with our psychological problems and childhood angst ... F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about his Winter Dreams and Kurt gave us his own vision of the world seen through the prism of his very strange mind... a mind that is now gone but not forgotten as we can read his works over and over ... and still try to make some sense of them beyond what they teach you they mean in English 101.

I can't believe he's gone.. it's been that kind of week. People coming and going leaving Planet Earth and yet Fidel hangs on like some dime store villain that you can't believe is real and if you wrote it in a book it would be tossed out for being unbelieveable that he is still around after all this time and yet Kurt Vonnegut is gone along with Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimaggio..

Going to go read and think on trying to find a new copy of Cat's Cradle and try to figure it out.



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