More or less exactly a year ago this month I sold all of my books. It was one of the most difficult and unnatural things I’ve ever done, as the first scene of my one-day-surely-to-fuck award-winning-if-I-ever-finish-it play The Collector clearly testifies.
There were 700 of them and I’d been dragging them around with me, and loving them, adoring them, for years.
Although I said at the time that I felt a certain lightness on letting them go – and no doubt at the time it was true – it’s also true that I’ve missed them, a lot, in the last year. Not all of them, obviously, but some of them, and frequently.
I’m missing one of them now, and because I am a) skint b) short of time, and c) loath to buy any book that I owned for so many years and was then forced by circumstance to get rid of, I really don’t want to have to track down a new copy. And my local library doesn’t have it. So I’m asking you, the internet, for your help.
So, are there any Kurt Vonnegut fans out there? I should bloody well hope so. The man was a god. Anyhow, what I’m looking for is a copy of an anecdote that appears in Vonnegut’s autobiographical hotchpotch Palm Sunday.
I had this copy by the way.
Hardback. I got it secondhand. In Brixton I think.
Oh, bloody hell. I really miss my books. It's weird. In some ways I miss them more than I miss the people I sometimes miss. My books never hurt me. Actually, that's not true, but when they did, and when they made me cry, I loved them all the more. Go figure.
Anyway, the anecdote relates to an evening in which, toward the end of his life, Jack Kerouac comes round to Kurt Vonnegut’s house and, if I recall correctly, talks about Hitler (in an inappropriately positive way) and offers to fight Vonnegut’s son.
I’ve had a root around online, and have managed to find proof that I’m not imagining the whole thing, including this quote from Vonnegut:
‘He [Kerouac] was crazy. There were clearly thunderstorms in the head of this once charming and just and intelligent man.’
But I really need to read the whole episode again. I want to remember. So – do you have a copy of Palm Sunday and would you be prepared to scan or photocopy the Kerouac bit and stick it in an email for me? It’s probably only a page or two at most. I would be ever so ever so grateful. I’ll even buy you a drink if you can come along on June 4th. Hmm? What do you say?
Come on, internet! Do your thing.