Saturday, September 11th, 2010

radiumgirl: (Default)
I spent alot of last night's graveyard shift from hell trying to figure out what to do with my life. I was getting pretty upset over it, actually, scrubbing away at the dishes into the wee hours of morning. And then I went on break.

I told you Kurt Vonnegut would make it better.

The introduction to Armageddon in Retrospect is actually written by Kurt's son, Mark, but it's an amazing, loving, and hilarious tribute to his late father and I was underlining passages like crazy back in the break room at three in the morning.

I've lumped the good parts together for your convenience:

"He often said he had to be a writer because he wasn't good at anything else. He was not good at being an employee. Back in the mid-1950s, he was employed by Sports Illustrated, briefly. He reported to work, was asked to write a short piece on a racehorse that had jumped over a fence and tried to run away. Kurt stared at the blank piece of paper all morning and then typed, 'The horse jumped over the fucking fence,' and walked out, self-employed again....

He was a writer who believed in the magic of the process-- both what it did for him and what it could do for readers. The reader's time and attention were sacred to him...Kurt was and is like a gateway drug or a shoehorn...

Reading and writing are in themselves subversive acts. What they subvert is the notion that things have to be the way they are, that you are alone, that no one has ever felt the way you have. What occurs to people when they read Kurt is that things are much more up for grabs than they thought they were. The world is a slightly different place just because they read a damn book. Imagine that."

Mark Vonnegut also talked about how his father was turned down when he applied for a position as a composition teacher at a community college. Five years later, he published Slaughterhouse-Five.

You know what? I applied to teach writing at a community college and I was turned down too.

I'm starting to feel like I'm in good company.

Anyway, while I'm feeling all brave and bold, rolling around in this renewed sense of purpose and potential, here's an except from Radium Girl, my in-progress memoir about doing everything wrong and somehow, getting it right in the end.

There comes a time in every woman's life when she realizes that spending an entire day in the bathtub with a bottle of vodka and her laptop is not an acceptable method for coping with life's little roadblocks... )

June 2011

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