Hooptedoodle is a Steinbeck word, not a Vonnegut word. I don’t know how the two men considered each other, if at all.
I’ve been roused from a slumber by the Kurt Vonneguys into re-reading Kurt’s work, damn you, Kurt Vonnegut! With your penchant for accurately describing the human experience! And it is fabulous to read Kurt again, it’s been a long vacation. It’s a spur – I’ve been spurred – to write again. These past weeks have brought a flow from me, a flow of words onto pages. Long hand! With a ball point! These are not deep or dark secrets.
And yet, the dark specter of blerchery comes to tell me “why bother?” Oh, the pages I’ve written longhand are garbage. They are garbage – who will I show them to without embarrassment? That’s what the mind tells me, until I feel spurred again. This time, I am powering through it – or so I think.
Elections spur me. I have things to say, and nothing at all. My words reach a degree of metatext that no one wants to read. Or do they? Are you reading this? Poo-tee-weet?
Vonnegut, man, Vonnegut. His earlier novels are so bleak, so dark and twisted, there is no hope within them. His later novels are bleak, too, but with hope at the end. This is a terrible, cruel world we live in, so, dammit, we’ve got to be nice to each other. This is not inferred from years of writing, Vonnegut makes it quite explicit throughout – telling us so in Man Without a Country.
If you are not listening to Kurt Vonneguys, Oh! You should. It is incredibly entertaining and fun and a valuable use of time. I know I’m sure enjoying it. It is two guys from the Cracked website reading their way through Kurt chronologically. I don’t know how the short fiction works into it, but I assume they will read those as collections.
My first Vonnegut was no doubt Slaughterhouse V, read over a weekend car ride to my grandparents. I had not ever held such a specter of death and so much went over my head. My mother recommended Welcome to the Monkey House which was not something a sheltered 8th grader was ready for. I have read most of Kurt’s work, stifling only at Player Piano, which I attempted once more a week or so ago. But it is so incredibly boring, I won’t try again for years.
Mother Night – here is a book I have recently finished in a weekend, and it is a powerful treatise on propaganda and silence, of the terrible things people do in wars, no matter how important they may be. Vonnegut did not care to glorify war, it was necessary and dirty and not something to celebrate. In Mother Night, there is no hope for the un-hero, he is not a man to pity or enjoy. There is little hope for anyone – but later on, we will see hope emerge in Vonnegut, and I want to know why.
Will hope emerge again in America? For many, it already has, but I don’t agree with that side of the aisle. I am helped by news of solar roofs and carbon sequestration, but little else. If I wrote a book now, there may be no hero – there is no hero in the book I am writing now.
I read my words and see youth played out still, though I am now an old man. My age belies me. How do authors do it?