RIP Bill Holm.

A Minnesotan and a Icelander.
A poet. An essayist. 2008’s McKnight Distinguished Artist of the Year.
Author of one of my favorite travel/experience books EVER!!!: Coming Home Crazy.
And Barton Sutter sums him up poetically: “Tis also a gift to be complex and ornery / with a house full of music / cigar smoke and whiskey / and Icelandic sagas / preserved by farmers / for nearly a thousand years.”

Death and Faith.

I got an email from a friend telling me her Dad died, and it reminded me that Madeleine L’Engle died recently and I’ve been meaning to recommend a specific book of hers.

While I dearly dearly love the Wrinkle in Time books, and there are a few of her adult fiction books I enjoyed also (A Small Rain, A Severed Wasp), my all-time favorite L’Engle book is from her “Crosswick Journals” ‘set, Vol 4. Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage.

A large part of the book is about her husband dying of cancer, and her struggling with her faith to “make sense of” or deal with that without falling back on either the nonsensical “why god why” or the equally (to believers in the concept of Free Will) nonsensical “God must have had a reason.” (In a world operating under Free Will, God is not a puppet master.)

It was a really lovely book and helped me when I was dealing with a death that hit me particularly hard, given the specific circumstances.

I reread the Wrinkle in Time books a few years ago during Harry Potter mania, to reconfirm that I did still love them even though I didn’t love (what I tried of) Harry Potter. They are more like both C.S. Lewis (faith-based fantasy) and Phillip Pullman (lovelovelove), and Meg and Charles are very beloved characters (by me and, of course, many others).

RIP Madeleine L’Engle.

RIP Papa Auta. I am sad I’ll never meet you when I finally make it to New Zealand. Your daughter has been such an important part of my life.

RIP Kurt Vonnegut.

His appearance on Jon Stewart last year was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen and fortunately for us, you can watch it on the web. In addition, here’s the list they refer to in that interview.

He never lost his edge. He never stopped saying the same simple message over and over: War = Wrong.

Can you claim to be well-read if you skipped “Slaughterhouse Five”? I think not!

Who knows if this is accurate, but on Wikkipedia, they cite his own grading of his books, and here are the four he graded highest: “The Sirens of Titan”; “Mother Night”; “God Bless You, Mr Rosewater”; and “Jailbird”.