“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you can see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
When you read this quote from the late yet brilliant Mr. Vonnegut don’t be surprised if for a few moments the way you view the present suddenly shifts. In those moments there is an intoxicating combination of panic and delight that runs through your veins faster than any dirty martini could dream. A fever for adventure sears your skin and you can almost swear that Kurt Vonnegut himself has given you the long awaited permission of living the life you’ve always desired. You can already see your windows rolled down, suitcase packed, regrets in the rearview and an unending pavement of promise. You don’t care where you are going as long as it allows you to escape the center and dance along the edge.
As beautiful and enticing as this vision sounds, reality will quickly smack you in the face. What about children, your husband or boyfriend? And then there is always mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, careers and let’s not forget the dog (or kitty if you’re anything like me.) And all at once, as vivid and real as this scene seemed only seconds ago, it becomes equally impossible. You may begin to sulk but that packed bag and open road is quickly abandoned with something as simple and beautiful as your daughter’s laugh, a lover’s embrace or wine with an old friend. You soon realize there is immense beauty hidden all throughout the center of your world. Life on the edge will just have to wait. Or does it?
The reason I started this book club was so that I could not only look over the edge but so that I would be able to take you with me. I wanted a group to be able to witness the lives and trials of colorful and dark characters alike and not only for our entertainment but for our benefit. To improve or to rediscover ourselves through the turns we make when slipping into the shoes of another. To ask ourselves what choices we will make in the world that lies in these pages. And most importantly, who will stop at the edge and who will simply keep walking.