Yet this morning I heard some very bad and sad news. I don't speak for all of Rorschach when I say this but someone who I think viewed the world in a similar way that we do passed away yesterday, Kurt Vonnegut.
When I got out of college I took a substitute teaching job at my old high school. Right next to the school was the public library. Once a week I would wander over to the library during my lunch break and check out two books. The closest shelf to the entrance to the library was the Fiction Shelf V. Vonnegut was right at eye level, so my discovery of him was as much an act of laziness as it was intellectual curiosity.
I had never read Vonnegut when I was in school and decided that I should at least try reading Slaughter House Five. This book opened my eyes to the potentials of story-telling. As the story moved back and forth along the continuum of one man's life, as extra-terrestrials and the fire bombing of Dressden began to fill my minds eye, I began to realize that Science Fiction and Literature were not mutually exclusive. That social commentary and deal with your own demons were not something that needed to be seperated but all of it spoke to univeral truths that exist within all of us.
I couldn't get enough. Next came Breakfast of Champions, Player Piano, Cat's Cradle and Slapstick. By the end of the year I had read all of his books and all of the short stories. My mind was filled with images of super evolved humans who had survived the end of the world, former American Spies who were exciles in their own country, and Ice 9. I had found a writer whose liberal leanings and moral view of the world echoed my own. I had found my literary hero.
When I found my home, here at Rorschach, the thing that inspired me most about the work we do is the very real and solid connection to the work of Vonnegut that exists in much of our work. Our willingness to produce writers who don't play by the strictest of narritive rules. Writers who play fast and loose with the continuum of time and space (Come and see References . . . and you'll see what I mean). Who are willing to break your heart and make you laugh at the same time.
I mourn the passing of a great writer and I leave you with the three morals of my favorite Vonnegut novel, Mother Night. "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Another is "Make love when you can. It's good for you." Yet another is "When you're dead, you're dead."
Goodbye Kilgore Trout!