Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SO IT GOES


Writers have mentors. As children we read something and a spark is ignited. Ask any writer about his or her influence and a look of whimsy and satisfaction will steal across his face. He'll name the person or person whose work touched him in such a way that he had to take up the pen himself. Me? There are three authors whose work have always inspired me to keep writing: Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft, and Kurt Vonnegut.

The author of such works as "Cat's Cradle", "The Sirens of Titan", "Slaughterhouse Five", and numerous short stories of speculative fiction that have had a distinctive American voice has died at age 84. I feel a tremendous sense of loss. It's as though a favorite uncle has passed.

But Uncle Vonnegut wouldn't want us to grieve. He would just smile and suggest that he is still alive at another point in time, but that at this point in time, his body is in an unfortunate state of existence. So, instead of saying goodbye to this man, let's instead say what the Trafalmadorians say when one of their kind passes: "So it Goes."

13 comments:

Asara said...

Oh wow.
I had to read Cat's Cradle in college, and it's one of the few assigned books that I kept because it was such an interesting read, and it cracked me up so often as well. This is sad news :(

On a lighter note, your word verification still hates me :)

miller580 said...

so it goes.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm sorry to hear this. I must confess to never having been a great Vonnegut fan, but I appreciated his talent.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I came here as soon as I heard because I knew you would post something about Vonnegut.

He was one of my hero-writers, too. And Kazak was one of the most memorable dogs in literature. It feels as if he died, too.

I can't bring myself to say any of the usual things about this death because there was nothing usual about Kurt Vonnegut. I will miss him, too.

Lucas Pederson said...

I love Slaughterhouse Five!
It's really sad when a great person and brillant writer like Vonnegut passes on. But he left us with fond stories and vivid ememories. He still lives, in his work. I just pulled down Salaughter House Five from the book shelf...I'm going to read it again. I'm going to take a walk with Vonnegut once again, and the destination is a little scary. Great post, buddy!

J. Heller said...

Kurt's story "Deer in the Works" is a brilliant rendition of the alienated individual within a seemingly uncaring world. RIP Kurt Vonnegut. Excellent tribute, Stewart.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Asara, the Trafalmadorians would smile at you and at hearts in san francisco. Vonnegut's body is just in a less fortunate state, he is still alive in another point in time and space. So it goes.

Charles, sometimes I find an author everyone is bat shit for, and I have to take a step back and nod. Okay, I can see that he has the talent, but I don't like him. It happens. Thank god for variety.

thanks j heller, and thanks Lucas. I think I'm going to reread SIRENS OF TITAN.

CS said...

I'm here via Rachel's blog. I discovred Vonnegut in adolescence, when science fiction really captured me. I was sad to hear about his death.

Kate S said...

The news he was gone was the first thing I saw this morning, had a moment of sadness.

Sorry he's gone; glad you're back.

spyscribbler said...

I knew about some of his dips into the music world, but I don't know his novels. A shame; everything I've read about him, including all the snippets of his stuff, I've liked. I'm putting him on my TBR list.

I'm sorry to hear of his passing!

Stewart Sternberg said...

cs...I am glad you found your way here. I'm usually cordial and charming....and then I eat people.

Kate, it's good to be back. I think.

Scribbler, the music world? Vonnegut? I'm missing something. But I am sure you'll enjoy discovering his fiction.

Clifford said...

I discovered Vonnegut at the tender age of 8. Back in the day there were very few books for tweens, and the ones I read were fine, but they wern't nearly enough.

He was the second "author" I noted. By that I mean, before Bradbuy (the first author I noted), I never thought about who wrote the books I read. It was all about story. But even as a kid, I realized that Bradbuy and Vonnegut were something more. I picked up Vonnegut's "Welcome to the Monkey House" and I was hooked.

I never came across Lovecraft as a kid (and glad I didn't...a bit too racist at times), but it looks like we got our writerly start in similar fashion. Twas a sad day...

Clifford said...
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