21 January 2013

Review: 'So It Goes,' Issue No. 1

On a sunny gold cover with a darkly funny star at its center (more on that symbol in a moment), the first issue of the literary journal "So It Goes" is packed with cheeky potential.

While it ultimately takes itself a bit too seriously, it potentially serves as an important primer and portal, for those who would like to write more about their military experiences, and for those who would like to read about them.

Launched by the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library last November, the publication commemorates the Indiana writer's Nov. 11 birthday—coincidentally Armistice Day (and, in the United States, Veterans Day)—as well as his absurdist-pacifist inklings. The theme of the first issue was "War and Peace."

The asterisk on the cover, for example? Vonnegut's whimsical doodle depicting an anus. (Nope. Not kidding. Apparently, he first used the symbol in his 1973 novel "Breakfast of Champions." And regularly signed autographs using it as well.)

"We hope that the selection of works mirrors Vonnegut's well-earned reputation as a humorist," the editors explain in an introduction. "Any literary journal bearing his name, however somber in its theme, should not exist without containing something funny."

There's more somber here than funny, but some funny is better than none.

The slim tome comprises just 112 pages. Some of the featured writers are living and working. Others are dead and gone. There's World War II reporter Ernie Pyle's classic essay about "The God-Damned Infantry"—Pyle was also a Hoosier—and a few scraps from Vonnegut himself, who died in 2007. There's an excerpt of Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried." 21st century war-poet Brian Turner's ubiquitous "Here, Bullet." In short, a rogue's gallery of gritty truth-tellers, peppered with a roughly equal number of lesser-knowns, translated, and aspiring writers.

"In this first issue, we hope you find a sense of enrichment, a cause for reflection, and a call for something approaching a more permanent peace, not exclusively for the sake of our veterans, but for the sake of us all," the editors write.

The publication is available for purchase here via the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library website. Price is $12, plus shipping.

The journal maintains a Facebook page here.

In other Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library news, on Jan. 26, the Indianapolis, Ind.-based organization plans to celebrate its second anniversary with panel discussions, a theatrical production, and other events. Click here for a press release with details.

The release briefly describes the organization's mission:
The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is a public-benefit, nonprofit organization championing the literary, artistic and cultural contributions of the late writer, artist and Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut. The library seeks to engage people in the written word – especially their own. We are in the historic Emelie Building in downtown Indianapolis (340 N. Senate Ave.), thanks to the support of Katz & Korin, PC. The library is open daily except Wednesdays from noon to 5 p.m. and is closed on all major holidays. Admission is free, donations appreciated.


  1. The theme of the 2013 issue is humor! My favorite from the current volume is "Flat Mommy." Hilarious and sad at the same time.

    1. Thanks for the tip regarding the theme for the next issue! I'll try to find and pass along the call for submissions, once it's posted!


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