Friday, April 13, 2007

Shit, Kurt Vonnegut Died

There are remarkably few authors that have managed to snag my adoration. By adoration, I mean an unruly and logic-defying literary crush. I've had a few, and a small number of them have carried on into the present. Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman, Dante Alighieri, Dylan Thomas, Hart Crane... hell, when I was very young, old Stephen King was in there. Kurt Vonnegut held a strong running in me.

Kurt Vonnegut was an author whose works I met, like many young writers, in a passing phase, but whose work, unlike other authors I read in that time period, stuck around in my head for some time. I read Slaughterhouse Five, Galapagos, Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, Mother Night, Deadeye Dick... about a dozen or so. I even read Sirens of Titan and that book of short stories, Welcome to the Monkey House. I've actually written poems based on imagery in my head that I somehow kept from reading his descriptions of Dresden's firebombing. I read his son's book, too, hoping to learn more about the author I couldn't know.

It somehow does bug me that I'm writing about him now that he's dead, because of it. It makes me feel like a phony asshole. I don't know if it's supposed to bug me when an author I've crushed on dies or not. It didn't bug me much when Bukowski died, or Burroughs, and it doesn't bug me that Vonnegut has. It seems appropriate, I suppose. Conclusion. End of book. Now we can watch our culture slowly boil all the flavor out of the books he wrote and footnote him in annotated textbooks and tribute anthologies, the occasional indie rock song that utilizes a term of his. Hey, that sounds dire, but it's not. It's the tragic stipend of having written, popularly. I was in love with Vonnegut's work for awhile, but it's difficult to discern from reading them if he enjoyed them as much as his readers.

Have a good one, Mr. Vonnegut. Thanks for being human, and for the books, as well.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

You Sap

It’s been some time since I mentioned the fatherhood thing, which was to be my original subject of this online journal. The reason there hasn’t been much in the way of parenting posts is because things regarding fathering and raising my baby kid happen with such incredible frequency that they begin to blend together into one, long memory. The minute I have something I want to post, something I’ve come up with or even a basic observation, something else will occur, and I just can’t keep up with all the parenting happenings I’ve wanted to place here, online. So, I’ll keep it brief and give an update from time to time.

While going through numerous pictures on my backup drive, I found some of the early images of Painter, and found myself shaken considerably by the sheer amount of change he’s already gone through. Two years ago, I looked no different than I do now. But the difference in Painter is astounding. Sure, all kids change considerably between birth and two. They have to. It’s still baffling to me just how much difference there is. I know that the shocked sensation I felt was only due to having been with Painter for two years, and his growth and development have been somewhat analog to me. Things slowly change, day by day, and you don’t notice so much until you see an old picture. But it still catches me off guard when I note this:

and then look at this one, taken on his second birthday.

This has occured during the time I’ve had this blog.

Being a father is both incredible and completely mundane at the same time. I love it. It’s like finding a buck laying on the ground, but every time you leave the house. And I get at least another 16 years of it (or until I get outmoded by his more interesting friends, somewhere in the vacinity of junior high). Fuck, I hope this next decade doesn’t go by too fast. I’m digging every minute of this.

Of course it will. And so will I. And so will you.

So for now, I get to hang out with my little man and my wonderful Maisy, most days, and write novels and poetry, and publish and revise and do most of the things I like doing, and I can even feel generally good about it. I’m ugly and broke, but that’s never really hindered me with these things.

I hope I see this the same way in hindsight, much later, and remember what a lucky piece of shit I was.