Every April 11th I celebrate my favorite author, the illustrious and ironic and brilliant and never banal Kurt Vonnegut. Usually I commemorate him with a story of how I discovered him, devoured his books or how he reinvented fiction literature for me.
This year I am celebrating something modern. Kurt, what have you done for me lately? I admit I haven't reread any if your novels this year, as I sometimes often do. Don't take it personally, I read exactly 3.5 books this year and paid over $20 in library fines. 2012 was the year of the magazine article and Facebook post. You once told me that "reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found". I hear you, but raising small babies is hard work and I had to find other ways to nourish my soul. Like the Santa episode of New Girl, which Hulu just informed me scornfully I have watched 12 times. Nick's dance just kills me.
But I did introduce someone very special to your writings and that is like discovering some hidden pearl in the middle of Bluebeard. (Like "belief is nearly the whole of the Universe, whether based on truth or not" on pg.161) Just as awesome and just as thrilling.
This year, my brother Daniel was looking for some Vonnegut wisdom. My knee jerk reaction is always Breakfast of Champions, but he already read it. And Slaughterhouse Five. And, surprisingly, Bagombo Snuff Box. I had to go back to my bookshelf and scan some books for a refresher on the story lines. I settled on Bluebeard, because of fantastic twisty thoughts like the one quoted above and because I remember reading it on the steps of our apartment in New Orleans. Not many books have I read that connect me to time and place and smells like yours, Mr V.
And so he bought it and read it and and reported back. And just like that, my brother and I were kids again reading books on opposite end of the red plaid couch with wood paneling on the walls and a corn field out the back window. We were firing quotes back and forth and asking random questions and just trying to be the first people in the history of readers that understood exactly what you meant. We were devouring your words and remembering what is so great about reading, anyway.
On April 11th I always get a little sad that because you are dead there will never be any more books. But then again, reading Bluebeard with my brother was kind of like reading it for the first time again.
RIP Kurt Vonnegut. That is what I write in my calendar every year. I think you would appreciate that more than "Anniversary of Vonnegut's death". But what do I know, I never really understood you. Didn't stop me from loving you. And sharing the love with others.