I was reading a very interesting article today in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, and it made me kind of sad. The interview was with Kurt Vonnegut, who is by far one of the greatest writers of the last century. His novels Cats Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five are among some of the greatest pieces of American literature, and if you have never read them I suggest you forgo the next pitcher of beer and use that money towards the purchase of either of these novels. They are well worth their price.
What made me sad was the realization that we will soon be losing another great writer. And let’s face it; we’re running out of the good ones. I would gladly trade all the Nora Roberts’ in the world for just one more Tom Robbins, Vonnegut, Dickenson, or Kafka. It may be a sad truth, but it’s the truth none the less; they just don’t make them like they used to.
What separated Vonnegut from his peers and predecessors was not just his format (using short paragraphs as a way to hold a readers attention and such) but his descriptive story telling of blending futuristic society’s with today’s modern life. We could see his characters and civilizations clearly in our head as if they were a normal part of our life, even though they never existed to begin with.
Vonnegut is (or more accurately, was) working on a new novel titled If God Were Alive Today, but he claims he has given up on it. Given Vonnegut’s gloomy outlook on life, I don’t doubt his claim, but it’s a shame. It would be nice to see him put out one more novel. But if that never happens, he can at least take comfort in the knowledge that he has written timeless masterpieces that will never lose their relevance. Check out the interview if you get a chance, and if you haven’t already, pick up one of his books and be prepared to have the door to your mind kicked open.
Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love?