June 9, 2009

Dead on, Mr. V

Clients and customer service seem to be taking up an unfair share of my brain space lately. So I thought I'd post something I truly, madly love: the best opening page of any novel I've ever read--Deadeye Dick, by the incomparable Kurt Vonnegut.

The first time I opened the book, I reread the dang page about 10 times. It's perfect--it's flows flawlessly. It's intriguing, exciting, un-pompous, simple, and human. It's Vonnegut. I read once that Kurt Vonnegut writes every word--every page--to utter perfection before moving on. Once he'd done a novel, he was good and done. No drafts for him, just perfection or nothing at all. I'm kinda like that with advertising--unwilling to move on till I get something just right. Sometimes it takes me a little long, but I can't take the lazy way out and come back to it later.

Would that I had more in common with Mr. V!

Anyhoo, for your reading pleasure, I give you page 1 of Deadeye Dick:

To the as-yet-unborn, to all innocent wisps of undifferentiated nothingness: Watch out for life.

I have caught life. I have come down with life. I was a wisp of undifferentiated nothingness, and then a little peephole opened quite suddenly. Light and sound poured in. Voices began to describe me and my surroundings. Nothing they said could be appealed. They said I was a boy named Rudolph Waltz, and that was that. They said the year was 1932, and that was that. They said I was in Midland City, Ohio, and that was that.

They never shut up. Year after year they piled detail upon detail. They do it still. You know what they say now? They say the year is 1982, and that I am fifty years old.

Blah blah blah.


  1. You've seen this, right?

    Vonnegut in Back to School

    "Hey Vonnegut, you read lips?" Ah, now that brightened up a cold and kinda rainy hump day...

  2. Hee hee! I saw that when I was about 10, so I hadn't the slightest who Kurt Vonnegut was. That's some funny stuff...

  3. Vonnegut don't get no respect. Great intro and will look for that book to add to my room dwarfing boko queue.