So it goes.

I own every novel Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote. Slaughterhouse Five, Breakfast of Champions, Mother Night, such amazing books. They each took me a couple times to really GET them, and so I read them over and over, loving them more every time.

He and I hold vastly different beliefs, and so I often disagree with his ideas. But not all of them, not at all. To quote my friend B.J., "truth finds it way into the weirdest of places." Friends, there are few places weirder than a Vonnegut novel. And there is much truth there.

He was a prisoner of war in Germany during WWII and was one of the few survivors of the U.S.'s fire-bombing of Dresden. He and the other POWs were put to work in an underground meat cellar, and it saved their lives. He became the ultimate pacifist, and his stories make his point in as bizarre and unique ways as possible, (including, but not limited to: time travel, space aliens, and an alter-ego named Kilgore Trout.)

Mr. Vonnegut passed away Wednesday, at the age of 84.

He was a sad man, and I have often felt as sorry for him as inspired by him. I don't write novels, but I do write, and I've found echoes of his work in my own. He has helped shape the way I view the world, corporations, national loyalty and decent, human kindness. He's also helped shape the way I feel about believing in nothing BUT human kindness. And I just don't believe it's enough.

Still, that's the way we learn, and I'm grateful for getting to learn through his words. So tonight I'm going to grab one of his books off the shelf, any one will do, and get lost in another of his insane and honest worlds.

God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut.

(A great bio was written about him in the New York Times yesterday and can be found here.)