Monday, March 25, 2019


I haven't been much for writing these days and most of the time when i do i usually stare at the words i type and hit delete. And so it was last week that i stumbled upon a piece written by a vet of the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan about how the most humane book ever written was Slaughterhouse-Five. I walked over to the bookshelf and took down my copy and proceeded to tear through it in my spare time over the next couple of days. It's the third time i've read it. While reading the book it dawned on me that there was no need for the Bible, the Koran, the Upanishads or the Tao Te Ching, that the folly of humanity was perfectly encapsulated in 274 pages, that all one needed to know about being a decent human was contained in that book. It's a very Zen book though i know that contradicts somewhat what i said a few sentences back. The Tralfamodorian concept of time being a play on the eastern mysticism i ponder so much, the long stretch of now and the fact that the now is here and forever and nowhere at all the same time. It gives me a modicum of comfort and pleasure to roll that concept around in my mind, the fact that somewhere it is January 1974 and i'm watching my dad blow out candles on his cake or it's August 1985 and i'm raining jump shots in the front yard as my dad smokes his cig and rebounds for me or that it's July of 1995 and i'm sitting in a sweltering room with my two cats and listening to the hustle and noise of Ocean City through a window as i lounge and wait to go to work.

I was thinking about closing the lounge down after all these years. Like all would be bloggers i'm sure there were delusions of literary grandeur when it started some 12 odd years ago but thankfully those quickly faded. I'm a bit more Kilgore Trout than Billy Pilgrim or maybe even Henry Darger. Except the kids won't find all the pages and drawings stacked in my tiny apartment, even worse they'll have to peruse the wasteland of the internet and type in a keyword like asshat and then scroll to the twelfth page to find the ramblings of an early 21st century nobody who had a predilection for drugs and strippers and cats. That sounds worse than it is but it's about right. Sitting here and watching the words is one of the few things i enjoy doing even when i don't do it and even though i don't do it particularly well but as we know Kilgore Trout hardly ever sold a book so i'll most likely keep hacking away for lack of anything better to do and the fact that i'm getting fucking older and like to go to bed earlier or maybe it's because i don't like to leave the house cuz people seem to get on my tits. But i digress.

I'll urge anyone who stumbles upon this to go and read Slaughterhouse-Five. The beauty, the absurdity, the humor, the horror, it's all there. I shake my head at how i never picked up a book by Mr. Vonnegut until maybe 6 years ago? Wandering around the local library and finally shrugging and saying fuck it in my head. It was God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and i never laughed so much while reading a book. Maybe i was waiting for the right time or maybe like Billy Pilgrim i had been in that library before and knew exactly when i was going to pick up that book and what would happen after i did. I like the fact that Kurt was tall. I'm tall. On the other hand i've never witnessed the horrors of war but did play a game with my freedom and life for seven years straight at a time when they were loading up the prisons of America with people doing the same type of thing. At one point that little game would have most likely landed me in a federal pen and we all know how that ends for a skinny white boy who liked to think he was tough but would have soon been a piece of tail passed around like a tray of lunch meat. Just typing that sentence sends a shiver through my teeth and sphincter, either way you get the drift.

So it goes.


kid said...

then in the Tralfamodorian time it would be the winter of 2007, and as you sat down with a pack of cigarettes and turned on the lights at the Lounge for the first time it was also the summer of 2012 as you thought about turning them off, perhaps already knowing it wouldn't be the last time you'd be thinking about doing so.

I think all true writers - or any artists of substance - walk that narrow edge their whole lives. even Henry Darger's self-doubt is marbled all over the myth he labored at seemingly every day of his life.

savannah said...

I recently (as in last week) packed our library in 40 or so u-haul book boxes. Vonnegut was well represented. I think once we unpack out in LaLaLand I'll reread "Slaughterhouse Five" so, thanks for the reminder. Also, thanks for sticking around, sugar! Compared to others I'm a newbie around here, but it has and will be a continued pleasure to read you. By the by, when it comes time for the kids, yours and mine, to discover our scribblings, we'll probably be beyond knowing, much less caring what they think! Hell, my krewe already knows what an idiot I am! xox

Exile on Pain Street said...

Here's a very nice essay from last weeks NY Times book review section on the 50th anniversary of Slaughterhouse Five.

He's the best. I heard him speak at Case once. He said writing programs destroy more programs than they create.

looby said...

We read that in our book club last year. It's a really eloquent and slightly despairing plea for pacifism. Because we know that will never happen until we have completely destroyed ourselves, which is the true human project.

Hope you don't pack the lounge in. Posterity doesn't really matter. After one's immediate family, it's just vanity really to imagine we've got to be important in fifty years time.

Keep on keeping on kono.

twin said...

I still show up... to read.