Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Crab rangoon, square dancing and Slaughterhouse-Five
My Aussie friend Alice came to the market with me on the way home tonight and we ate crab rangoon and fresh raspberries in the grass picnic area, while listening to the band and watching people dance something that looks like a cross between slow ceroc and a square dance. Alice tells me there was a square dance on the uni campus at the weekend and she'll keep an eye out for another one - I love square dances. I went to one with my schoolfriend Dinah in Taupo when I was about 14. They had hay bales for seats, a fiddler and a caller - "Step to the right and do-si-do." It was a hell of a lot of fun, so Alice and I are going to go to the next one here. They're not exactly common in Auckland or Melbourne.
I'm reading a book by Kurt Vonnegut called Slaughterhouse-Five because Pam, my landlady, took me on the Summit District Heritage Walk, and showed me where Kurt Vonnegut lived here in Iowa City while on the Writer's Program. There are some great quotes so far in this book:
"And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep."
"It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds."
I'm sure even the birds are quiet.
On the back of the book it says it is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.
I find myself saying 'And so it goes' after talking about anything sad and significant. It's one of the repeated phrases that lingers with me after finishing the book.