Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On Vonnegut

I just read a brief review of Kurt's biography, written by Charles Shields.  The selling point of the article (possibly the book) is that Kurt was not particularly nice or happy.

My bud-in-blogging, Eric (the Noctornal Slacker) recently did a book report on Kurt's Timequake.  We seem to share a love of Kurt's writing, as did many people.

Let's ruminate on this a second.......

  1. Does it really matter what kind of person Kurt was?
  2. After reading the review, it's pretty obvious why Kurt might have been a bit off.
  3. I submit to you that being a bit off is almost a requirement in the arts.
Quite frankly I never put together much of an opinion on what kind of person Kurt was.  I was happy to enjoy his output. 

I do admit to wondering what might be wrong with Kurt, specifically concerning the time-hopping exercises in his books.  My wife and I wonder if he had multiple personality disorder; it would certainly explain the time-hopping.  She loved his writing and said it made perfect sense to her.

If nothing else, the man certainly had a right to a bit of post-traumatic stress disorder.

As for being a bit off, I spent many years in comedy and rock and roll.  My observation was that comics, as a rule, were among the more miserable human beings I had ever met.  Pain transforms into comedy; both the performer and the audience win.

As a guitar player, performing in front of people is the cheapest and most effective therapy I can imagine.  It has the added benefit of not requiring precertification, copays, or an hour in the waiting room.

And what do we have left?  The legacy of Kurt's writing.


  1. "3. I submit to you that being a bit off is almost a requirement in the arts."

    Well, I've said for years now that all performers, regardless of their chosen means of expressing their art, are a bit quirky; some way more quirky than others. I believe the output is of more importance than the source, though.

    I'm sure KV had his moments. We all do, as far as that goes. I haven't read Shields' book yet. It's on my list. As soon as I can get my hands on a copy, I'll give it a go.

    Speaking of quirky... I'm reading another entertaining Jesse Ball novel - The Curfew. If you tossed Virginia Woolf, Cormac McCarthy, and a dash of Poe into a blender, Ball is what you might come up with.

    I'm off to go read now...


  2. That sounds..... interesting, for lack of better term :)
    Happy reading.

    Yeah, we're all out of our skulls.
    No one gets out unscathed.