Kurt Vonnegut and Left of Center

Posted on January 12, 2013 by

12 12 Tahoe and Mammoth 113

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

I wonder sometimes how close to the edge I can really get, where I can take risks and where I need to crawl back to the safety of the middle.

Where do I teach my children to stand, and where do they naturally gravitate towards?

So different from when I was a kid.

I wonder how to live life close to the edge without falling off.  Tipping over.  Or tripping into the abyss.

I wonder what would happen if I took one. step. closer.

Who would follow me?

Could I balance like this, on the railing of life, arms wide open? At my age?

I wonder if this is something only a 13-year-old boy could do. Would do.

Life has a funny way of showing us.

Right now I think I’m cruising along in the fast lane.

Straddling the center median at times.

Like a bumper car, hurtling back to the middle at one moment, then flooring it back to the edge.

I am seeing all kinds of things I never saw from the center.

Out here on the edge. 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Comments: 6

  • Brittnee Henry

    January 20, 2013

    This post made me think of a familiar phrase that I’ve heard many times in my 5 years of yoga practice: Work your edge. It is important to push oneself just a bit further whenever possible. I also think it’s important to be mindful when approaching your edge – to be smart and in-tune with oneself and the world around you in order to know what exactly working your edge means today. Vonnegut intrigues me. As a University of Iowa student I often walked past the small wood-frame house that housed The Iowa Writer’s Workshop. It was in this calm, wholesome, Midwestern city that Vonnegut wrote some of his most compelling works. That in itself I think talks to working your edge – perhaps as an example that we can work our edge as long as there are a few things in our life that are safe and secure.

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      January 20, 2013

      Hi Brittnee,
      Working our edge…how perfectly that aligns with this quote, and actually, how I’m living my life right now. Keeping an eye on safe place, like a life rope holding me from falling in too deep!

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      January 13, 2013

      I love it, too! It really resonated with me…and my son, who lives life as close to the edge as he can get! What you cannot really tell from this photo is that it is an overlook to Mono Lake, which at the time was completely covered in a huge blanket of fog…almost like it was protecting us from getting too close!

  • steve

    January 12, 2013

    If you’re not standing on the edge, you’re taking up to much space

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      January 13, 2013

      I like that…I wonder how close to the edge we can get.

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