I cried this morning over my granola. Best explained with something I wrote a few few years back:
On Christmas round about 1973 or so, my sister, Lisa, gave me Breakfast of Champions, which changed my life in unaccountable ways. I holed up with the book all afternoon Christmas and into the next day, and came out the other side convicted to writing.
I gave that book away – to Lisa as a wedding present – so Nora a couple of years ago gave me a new copy of Breakfast of Champions, and I read it fresh with whatever wisdom I’ve acquired in the decades since. It held up well. I ended up thinking Vonnegut is wrong in fundamental ways, all dark determinism I simply can’t embrace. But he is funnier, if anything, than when I read him a quarter century ago, and the funadamental insight I had then endured, richer for the years.
The insight is this: The written word is written by someone. The book has an author. A writer has a voice.
“I wonder what the poor people are doing tonight.”
My best friend loaned me one of his books in high school. I read everything I could find after that and attended one of his lectures. He was one of our country’s greatest. If you haven’t read Timequake, check it out. I still can’t decide if it’s the best thing he ever wrote, or the worst.