Thursday, April 12, 2007

everything was beautiful and nothing hurt

“As I read the Book of Genesis, God didn't give Adam and Eve a whole planet. He gave them a manageable piece of property, for the sake of discussion let's say 200 acres.” -KV

We all need people to look up to, to follow after; people from whom we might draw inspiration and perhaps, to do work in a similar spirit of, if we are so able or so lucky or both. Or maybe it’s enough just to say I’m happy to know certain people have lived lives with little concern for the way most people insist the world works. Maybe knowing that, helps keep me sane in a world I’m ever more convinced has gone mad. Yesterday Kurt Vonnegut died at his home in Manhattan at the age of 84.

If you’re curious about Mr. Vonnegut’s thoughts concerning our relationship with fossil fuels (that is the topic that I try and focus on here) Rolling Stone quotes him in an interview in 2006 saying,

I'm talking about us killing the planet as a life-support system with gasoline. What's going to happen is, very soon, we're going to run out of petroleum, and everything depends on petroleum. And there go the school buses. There go the fire engines. The food trucks will come to a halt. This is the end of the world. We've become far too dependent on hydrocarbons, and it's going to suddenly dry up. You talk about the gluttonous Roaring Twenties. That was nothing. We're crazy, going crazy, about petroleum. It's a drug like crack cocaine.

But to see him through such a small window does his life no justice. He wrote with reckless abandon, but not without purpose, about all sorts of things and sometimes seemingly about nothing at all. He and I shared a common hero, Mark Twain, of whom he once spoke saying, “Mark Twain, finally stopped laughing at his own agony and that of those around him. He denounced life on this planet as a crock. He died.” Vonnegut said in the RS interview last year, “Please, I've done everything I was supposed to do. Can I go home now?' That's what I feel right now. I've written books. Lots of them. Please, I've done everything I'm supposed to do. Can I go home now?”

Yes you can, and thank you for your life. You are already missed.

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — 'God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.'

-Kurt Vonnegut (Nov 11 1922 – Apr 11 2007)

3 comments:

RAS said...

God speed, Kurt. You will be missed.

You were one of the few voices of sanity in a world gone mad.

CV Rick said...

Beautifully written. An inspired Tribute. I'll miss him as well.

Anonymous said...

You will be missed, Kurt.

I would see him occassionally on campus at the University of Iowa when he would do the summer Writer's Workshop. I would also spot him driving around campus in an old school boxy Volvo. He will be missed by many.