Thursday, April 12, 2007

and so it goes...

A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.
Kurt Vonnegut, Sirens of Titan
I woke up too early this morning. I had slept on the couch. Often in situation comedies, men find themselves sleeping on the couch because of arguments they have had with their spouses. It is a cliché locale for banishment. This was not the case for me.

I don't much care for my couch. It was purchased new to fill an available space when we moved into our home two and a half years ago, and it quickly became clear that the couch was not going to last very long. It's a bad couch. The cushions don't stay on the couch very well. They slide around and quickly get out of shape. It began to get threadbare within just a few weeks of its arrival. And so on.

Ironically, the couch bears some responsibility for the reason I ended up sleeping on it. I was carrying my son Jack two mornings ago. As I leaned over to drop him onto the couch, something snapped. Or pinched. One of the millions of nerves in this amazing body I live in was affected in just the right way to create the sensation of having been punched reasonably hard in the middle of the left side of my back.

That night, I had a difficult time sleeping in our bed, so I chose to sleep on the couch last night instead. It was a little bit better. I slept more consistently, but still woke up earlier than I had intended to and in more pain than before I went to bed in the first place.

So I got up to get a drink of water and like any reasonable person with an unreasonable addiction, I checked my email. I found it to be somewhat unfulfilling, so I hit the news sites to see what had happened while I was sleeping. Sadly, I learned that it was reported that Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday.

I was turned on to Vonnegut many years ago by my friend Maht, and quickly consumed many of his works. He quickly became one of my favourite authors. He's an incredibly deep thinker who often presented his ideas in a deceptively simple form. Vonnegut also had a cameo role, appearing as himself in the Rodney Dangerfield film "Back to School."

Like my last post about Sol LeWitt (I have to stop writing about people dying--I'm in danger of getting into some kind of rut), I'm not going to attempt to analyze Vonnegut. It's been done. I could probably babble on at length about how great he was--what an amazing body of work he left and all that. I might even be able to write intelligently about his work. But I think his work stands for itself, so here's a link to an essay he wrote about three years ago regarding the current state of the world. It's called "Cold Turkey." It's really great. Read it.

One of the things I really liked about Kurt Vonnegut was that he would occasionally embellish his novels with simple line drawings. Later in life, Vonnegut extended this to creating artworks that were made into lithographs. The drawings on this page are all by Vonnegut. I always wanted to buy one of his prints...never could afford one. I doubt that's going to be any easier now. There's probably a few novels out there that I haven't read yet. Maybe I'll go buy one and read it.


The Moon Topples said...

Seems like I should have something intelligent to add, as a Vonnegut-lover and someone who knows a thing or two about back pain.


I'm stealing your Sirens of Titan quote to add to my post, though. I had forgotten that one.

Chris said...

I too read an article this week on Kurt's passing. I need to find some of his books to read. Always meant to do it but never got around to it. I hate it when that happens.

Hope the back gets better soon.