Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

"How nice--to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive." A Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. quote from Slaughter House Five. Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors and I love that quote.  I read him in the early 60's and fell in love with his style of writing. Some of his ideas made me laugh, or at least chuckle. His poking fun at life made you think. I also found out that either you liked his writing or you hated it! I have ten of his books but am finding out he wrote many more.

My memory being what it is, I don't recall what the stories were about but I do remember the one thing that stuck in my mind about equality.  I believe it is something to the effect that beautiful people should have a sack over their heads so as not to compete with ordinary looking people while lithe and energetic persons should have an iron ball chained to their feet to make them equal to heavy persons.

Vonnegut writes black comedy, there is a lot of satire, and I find him clever and funny even though his subject is timely and serious. Many classify him as a skeptic and a cynic. After writing Player Piano and Sirens of Titans he was labeled as a science fiction writer and though he may write about weird people in space, his subject is always very real.

My book club will be discussing Slaughter House Five so I re-read it.  I am older and I hope wiser, and I wondered if I would enjoy the book the second time around.  I did.  I am glad that I still like his writing and his ideas.  Slaughter House Five moves through Billy Pilgrim's life (which I suspect could partially be Vonnegut's life) from the reality of war, bombings, killing to fantasy on an alien planet called Tralfamadore. At times I had trouble keeping the time line but as the story flowed so did my reading.

In 2007 I read where he had died and I remembered how much I had liked his wit in the '60's. I felt bad I did not keep up with him but as life would have it, I was busy with my own life and put Vonnegut on a back burner.  Now, I will begin reading him again and include those stories I have not read--those stories he was writing while I was doing my own thing! He liked to doodle on the margins of his books and I found out that his sketches are now sold as prints and on t-shirts.

I will end this blog just as I started, with one of Vonnegut's quotes:  "I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over.  Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sponge Full of Thoughts

With the help of my granddaughter, I have entered the world of a blogger. It amazes me how young kids know so much about all the new electronic gadgets!

I believe that there is a sponge full of memories and ideas lurking in my head and as long as I can keep the sponge moist, the ideas and memories will flow. Out will come past and present thoughts to pass on to the younger generation for them to use or discard.

I was born in Greeley, Colorado making me a native Coloradoan. The Rocky Mountains which are fifty miles away from Greeley were a fun place to visit. As a child my father took us to the mountains almost every weekend.  The Big Thompson Canyon with the rugged rock walls always amazed me and I loved the mountains.  Then, a trip to the west coast and the grey-green ocean gave me a new love. 

Writing for my own enjoyment, photography and traveling inspire me and can be said they are my hobbies.  I began writing around the age of nine and felt a thrill when my religious poetry was published in our church bulletin.  My father gave me a Brownie camera when I was around ten years old and my love for photography was born.  Seeing new and different sights in my travels excites me and makes me feel truly alive!

I have two children and four grandchildren and they mean more to me than writing, photography and traveling! Lately I have become interested in genealogy and find myself immersed in my ancestor's lives and history.

The sponge of memories and idea will be kept wet so that I can squeeze the many thoughts to make them  flow unto the printed page!