Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Armageddon in Retrospect"

Just caught up with Kurt Vonnegut's posthumously-published Armageddon in Retrospect: And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace.  It's introduced by his son Mark, who observes that his Dad was "an optimist posing as a pessimist" who believed in writing as a spiritual exercise. It did not come easy to him.

He rewrote and rewrote and rewrote, muttering whatever he had just written over and over, tilting his head back and forth, gesturing with his hands, changing the pitch and rhythm of the words. Then he would pause, thoughtfully rip the barely written-on sheet of typing paper from the typewriter, crumple it up, throw it away, and start over again.
Makes me miss my old Smith-Corona, as well as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. He said:
We Humanists behave as well as we can, without any expectations of rewards or punishments in an Afterlife... We don't fear death, and neither should you. 
And then he said "I thank you for your attention, and I'm out of here." Simple, honest, clear. Thankfully the books remain.

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