I’m avoiding writing chapter five of Cricket and Grey. Instead I’m thinking about Kurt Vonnegut. I spent some time reading about him online the other night and didn’t realize that we were ideological twins. Right down to religious beliefs (he apparently sometimes referred to himself as agnostic, sometimes as an atheist, though he did refer to “god” often and belonged at one point to a Unitarian church which I will never do unless a deity of some kind (any kind) comes right into my house and offers me strong liquor, but then I’d be more likely to club such a deity with my giant maglight or my great big rattan staff –
You know how sometimes a parenthetical can become wild and run away with your mouth? The point is that I have always loved Kurt Vonnegut but never read about the man. I also need to disclose that my entire love for the writer is based on reading The Sirens of Titan which I thought was earth shatteringly brilliant and funny which makes me wonder how I managed to never read his other books? I may have been sidetracked by J.D. Salinger at that point and then by my stint with Anne Rice. Kurt and I would have belonged to the same club of dissidents.
I was profoundly impacted by his son Mark Vonnegut‘s book The Eden Express.
I read a synopsis of The Sirens of Titan and it seems impossible that such a ridiculously silly story could be one of the best books I’ve ever read, but I promise it is. Somehow Vonnegut makes it seem totally normal to have warring Martians. I know I couldn’t do it.
Vonnegut’s political views are also almost identical to my own.
Why aren’t there more writers with that same ability to write satirically about social and political mores?
Irreverence and honesty in writing – these things are sacred to me. I emulate it.
So then I was thinking about how Cricket and Grey isn’t at all satirical or funny and it made me feel a little inferior. I have moments where I’m funny, but I can’t sustain it for more than a few paragraphs. I guess I’m about due for one of those moments where I really just want to be the writer I’m not, be the person I’m not, be the mom I’m not. We all have those days.
Even Martha Stewart probably wishes she was Oprah sometimes.
I think a good strategy for dealing with these annoying moments is to concentrate on who and what we’re glad we AREN’T. I’ll give it a shot.
I’m glad I’m not:
1. A saw-toothed hell spawn. I wouldn’t mind being a hell spawn so much, it the saw-toothed part that worries me.
2. A serial killer. You’ve got to be good at keeping things secret if you want to keep killing people and you also probably need a driver’s license and a Ford van. I’ve come close to turning myself in for jaywalking so I imagine it would be a challenge to not turn myself in for killing multitudes.
3. Jon Stewart’s show notes. Have you seen how he man-handles them? On the other hand… Jon Stewart’s show notes are – (I’m not going to finish that thought, fill in as you see fit)
4. My own bicycle tires. They take a lot of abuse. Not just from my ass size either. Think about it: gum, animal feces, ants on sticky rotted food, mud, rose thorns, rocks, oil, cigarette butts, man-spit.
4. Glenn Beck. No words can possibly do justice to my strong emotions on the subject of how happy I am not to be Glenn Beck. If I was Glenn Beck I’d be in constant danger of getting punched by Angelina Williamson.
5. Barbara Cartland. Do you have any idea how often I’d have to use the word “throbbing”, “thigh”, “muscles”, “manly”, and “bulging”? Completely demoralizing.
6. A ballerina. I don’t like candy bars and soda nearly enough. Cigarettes are wonderful, of course, but there’s never been a beer swigging ballerina yet. However, the real reason I wouldn’t want to be a ballerina is because my name is Angelina. I wouldn’t like my profession to rhyme with my name.
7. John Bobbit. The only reason to want to be a man (if you’re a non-transgender female) is to find out what swinging a penis around would feel like (Max tells me I’m really missing out). The worst man in the world to be is the one who got his cut off.
8. A professional wrestler. They apparently don’t get dental, just like I don’t get dental but they have a job where they routinely get teeth knocked out. In addition to that, they have to wear really weird hairstyles. The long mullet being my all-time favorite to bash.
9. Susan Powter. I can’t think of an “author” more directly opposite in skill, talent, and wit to Kurt Vonnegut than Susan Powter. I’m pretty sure that’s the very first time their names have been linked in a sentence together. Powter’s “writing” on her blog is barely coherent.
10. Anyone who has to be inside my head. Once the novelty of having random words and expressions like “spit monkey”, “whore-nest”, and misquotations of Shakespeare fly past you, the reality will feel worse than a bagel that’s been chewed up and spit out and then ground into your hair shirt.
I have to admit that I now feel much better about having about 1/4 of the skill and talent that Kurt Vonnegut has.
Time to do some house cleaning. Max’s birthday party is tomorrow and I need to make sure that none of the parents dropping off their kids call the health department on us.
I will leave you all with this little bit I unearthed from Dustpan Alley which for some reason feels appropriate today:
“If people give you attitude about taking psych meds and imply that it’s the same as popping a few Quaaludes every day, or tripping on LSD, go ahead and let them think you’re having more fun than they are. It makes some people’s lives so much more interesting to imagine all of us medicated crazies as drug addicts riding a giddy wave of narcotic induced euphoria. It would disappoint them to know the truth. Let them have a little excitement.”