Poo-Tee-Weet?

slaughterhousefive.jpg

I was an obnoxiously precocious little kid. I spent so much time reading and writing from grade school to high school, that I was socially retarded around girls up until I entered college. My love interests were novels, the paperbacks that seemed only to collect dust in my 6th grade classroom. Perhaps I was a bit on the pretentious side, as I often scoffed at my friends who picked up R.L. Stine books, or the girls who were glued to V.C. Andrews. They didn’t understand half of what was going on. Flowers In The Attic? Get out of here.

Oh, what a shock my little mind was in for when I started picking up Vonnegut. Can someone at age 11 / 12 really appreciate novels like this? Slaughterhouse 5? Breakfast of Champions? Sirens of Titan? Cat’s Cradle?

No, probably not. But I read them all anyway.

Slaughterhouse 5 was the first of Vonnegut’s works I read. The unique voice, the constant moving back and forth through time, and the odd humor scattered throughout, really altered my perceptions of literature. Books didn’t just have to entertain. They could teach you something, deliver a message, leave you in awe and with a sense of wonderment.

Maybe I read it because the original title of the book was Slaughterhouse 5: or The Children’s Crusade, A Duty-Dance With Death, and that whole children’s crusade bit interested me. I was a kid, what did I know.

Sigh.

Vonnegut passed away on Wednesday, while I was in my room, sitting by the window, reading Franz Kafka’s The Trial. I wonder, would I have been here, in Philadelphia, reading Western literature, German literature for that matter, if I hadn’t picked up that dusty novel with yellowed pages in my 6th grade library?

A mind wanders.

Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.

Comments

Treasure of Baghdad
Reply

Yesterday, an American friend of mine told me about Vonnegut’s death. He told me exactly what you mentioned. He said he spent all day chain smoking. He was obsessed with Vonnegut’s writing, especially Slaughterhouse 5.

You know what I always say when I feel sad about the death of my favorite author? I say that these authors are immortal whether they die or not. Their contribution to the world is far from dying.

Nageeb Mahfooz, one of my favorite Arab authors died last year. I felt sad for that but I reminded myself that he did not die. His books will always remind us of how a great author he was.

Off topic. I loved the pictures you took, especially the ones near the Municipality building with the huge dominoes. I have exactly the same picture there of me leaning on one of these huge dominoes :D

I enjoyed reading your blog. I’ll bookmark it. Thanks for stopping by on my blog.

Best regards.

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