Irreverent, brilliant writer Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007), native of Indianapolis, Indiana, celebrated his birthday today.
"Educating a woman is like pouring honey into a fine Swiss watch: everything stops," he once said.
A satirist and true master of contemporary American literature, his works included Cat's Cradle (1963), Slaughterhouse- Five (1969), and Breakfast of Champions (1973).
"Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, he advised, "and don't put up with people who are reckless with yours."
Vonnegut studied to be a chemical engineer, enlisted in the Army during World War II, and was captured by the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he studied anthropology then worked as a publicist and journalist before writing his first book, Piano Player (1952).
The novel includes this typical Vonnegut observation: "I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge, you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center."
With writing to create fictional worlds of wild humor, absurdity, and stunning truth about society, war, and technology, Vonnegut made us think. He was inventive and clever.
"Each person has something he can do easily and can't imagine why everybody else is having so much trouble doing it," he explained. "In my case, it was writing."
He rose from the underground and was praised as one of the best. His books are old friends to read and reread... to delve and find new meaning in his profound, bizarre look at life.
"Laughter or crying is what a human being does when there's nothing else he can do."
More VONNEGUT Quotations
"And so it goes..."