Kurt Vonnegut lecture on 4-27-2007

 

 

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Thought I would quickly recap the lecture last night at Clowes Hall on the Butler University campus.

I’m also including a link from the Indy Star that covered the event.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/V/VONNEGUT_HONORED?SITE=ININS&SECTION=ENTERTAINMENT

Mark Vonnegut said he would be giving the hard copy of the speech to the Indianapolis Libraries, so hopefully a transcript of it will eventually end up online. The evening started out with a quick speech by Louis Mahern, the president of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Board of Trustees. Instead of then introducing Kurt they played “Tock – Tick”, a musical piece that includes Kurt reading from “Slaughter House Five.” I’m sure this can be found somewhere on the Internet. I had never heard it before, it was very cool. Here’s a link from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Tock-Tick-Simon-Heselev-Vonnegut/dp/B00008PUMT/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-6243958-1642439?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1177756699&sr=8-1

Then Mark Vonnegut came out and, with some emotion, read Kurt’s prepared speech. He asked that we bear with him in case he broke down at any point. It was an amazing speech. Quintessential Vonnegut, 84 years old, and shortly before his death, the speech didn’t miss a beat. It was unbelievably funny and at other times, moving to the point of tears. He also still took a few jabs at the current administration. “What’s the only difference between Bush and Hitler? Hitler was elected.”

Mark choked up when reading about Booth Tarkington, another Hoosier writer,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booth_Tarkington and when reading what his dad had said about him (Mark). Mark stated that shortly after writing this speech Kurt wrote what he wanted said at his memorial service and presented both to him. Mark said that there was part of him that felt his dad knew he would never be there to present the speech.

After the speech Jill Krementz, Nanny Pryor (Vonnegut), and Lily Vonnegut all came out and were presented with numerous awards by the library system, a state representative and the Mayor of Indianapolis. One special highlight of the evening was the announcement that Indianapolis now has its own national award for literature and it is appropriately named the Kurt Vonnegut Award for Literature. The first one was presented to Mark last night on Kurt’s behalf. If that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

The evening ended with a short speech by Jill Krementz. In some ways, this was the most moving part of the evening. She spoke with some intimacy about Kurt Vonnegut the husband, father and friend. She also mentioned his support of her work over the years and his love of simple pleasures: walking on a nice day, visits to his local post office, doing the NY Times crossword puzzle in ink. (A weird synchronicity moment for me as I just watched “Word Play” last week.) He also enjoyed watching Law and Order and Judge Judy.

There are other events going on in the city today commemorating the “Year of Vonnegut” and I believe the Vonnegut family will be present for those as well. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice in coming out here and giving of their time while I’m sure they’re still grieving over their loss.

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Kangeiko 2014

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Kangeiko, or cold weather training, is a martial arts tradition that originated in Japan. This “bitter” training is done in the early morning in a cold room or outside and involves a period of intense practice. 

This type of training shows dedication and develops perseverance and physical toughness.

New Years day morning I will be doing my version of Kangeiko as a way to show my determination to achieve certain goals in 2014, my 50th year on the planet.

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And Then There Were None. The Death of the American Bookstore

ImageThere is nothing new about bookstores closing.  That’s been happening for years, but when I read the headline “Barnes & Noble Closures: 100s Of Stores To Go According To Top Executive“, it still felt like a punch to the gut.  Borders, B&N, and Amazon all helped bring about the end of smaller, independent bookstores. Now, not only are most independent bookstores closed, but so is Borders.

With the announcement that Barnes and Noble is also closing stores, I now see a stark future where it will be increasingly difficult for me to participate in one of my favorite pastimes, hanging out in book stores.

I have nothing against digital books, but there is something to be said about being surrounded by words.  With e-readers, the words are always in front of you.  I would compare this to the difference between standing on a mountain top and feeling the majesty of creation around you versus looking at a postcard of a mountain.

With bookstores fading, record stores already a distant memory, what’s next liquor stores?  Will something come along to limit my ability to browse unique and special scotches and bourbons?  A stark future indeed.

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Write Brained: The Neuroscience of Writing and Writer’s Block

Great article dealing with my affliction.

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Precipice in front, wolves behind

A View From The Crossroads

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I padded into the kitchen, grabbed some strawberries from the fridge and turned on the radio.  Norah Jones was singing Those Sweet Words.  “Perfect,” I thought, “a great tune to get me in the mood for my morning yoga.” I put a teakettle on the stove and sat down at the kitchen table, nibbling on the strawberries. When Norah finished singing, an announcer started droning on about the weather and sports. I tuned him out as the teakettle started whistling. As I picked it up, something the announcer said caught my attention. “This program is brought to you in memory of Eddie Mars.  Mr. Mars’ favorite saying was from the latin, ‘A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi’, meaning – A precipice in front, wolves behind.  No idea what that means folks, but it sounds like Mr. Mars must have been quite a character.”

I clicked off the…

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Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

A View From The Crossroads

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Kurt Vonnegut’s relationship with his hometown of Indianapolis was often strained during his writing career.  The progressive themes of his books didn’t always find a welcome audience in conservative Indiana.

Just three years after Kurt’s death this is starting to change.  Thanks in part to the addition of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Downtown Indianapolis.

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The mission of the library states:

Mission

The KVML is a public benefit, nonprofit organization championing the literary, artistic, and cultural contributions of the late writer, artist, and Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut. The library will serve as a cultural and educational resource facility, museum, art gallery, and reading room. It will support language and visual arts education through programs and outreach activities with other local arts organizations to foster a strong arts network for both the local and national community. The library will be located in the historic Emelie Building in downtown Indianapolis (340…

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Kurt Vonnegut lecture on 4-27

Fellow Hoosier, Kurt Vonnegut has always been a tremendous influence. I honored that I got to see him speak on two occasions.

A View From The Crossroads

Here’s a reposting of an entry I made Shortly after the death of Kurt Vonnegut.

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Thought I would quickly recap the lecture last night here at Clowes Hall on the Butler University campus.

I’m also including a link from the Indy Star that covered the event.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/V/VONNEGUT_HONORED?SITE=ININS&SECTION=ENTERTAINMENT

Mark Vonnegut said he would be giving the hard copy of the speech to the Indianapolis Libraries, so hopefully a transcript of it will eventually end up online.The evening started out with a quick speech by Louis Mahern, the president of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Board of Trustees.  Instead of then introducing Kurt they played “Tock – Tick”, a musical piece that includes Kurt reading from “Slaughter House Five.”  I’m sure this can be found somewhere on the Internet.  I had never heard it before, it was very cool. Here’s a link from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Tock-Tick-Simon-Heselev-Vonnegut/dp/B00008PUMT/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-6243958-1642439?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1177756699&sr=8-1

Then Mark Vonnegut came out and…

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