Version: Non-epiphanies

From Kurt Vonnegut's Bluebeard (in my copy p.151):

'After the war, When I told Terry Kitchen something about my three hours of ideal lovemaking with Marilee, and how contentedly adrift in the cosmos they made me fee, he said this: 'You were experiencing a non-epiphany.'

'A what?' I said.

'A concept of my own invention,' he said. This was back when he was still a talker instead of a painter, long before I bought him the spray rig. As far as that goes, I was nothing but a talker and a painter's groupie. I was still going to become a businessman.

'The trouble with God isn't that He so seldom makes Himself known to us.' he went on. 'The trouble with God is exactly the opposite: He's holding you and me and everybody else by the scruff of the neck practically constantly.'

He said he had just come from an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, where so many of the paintings were about God's giving instructions, to Adam and Eve and the Virgin Mary, and various saints in agony and so on. 'These moments are very rare, if you can believe the painters - but who was ever nitwit enough to believe a painter?' he said, and he ordered another double Scotch, I'm sure, for which I would pay. 'Such moments are often called "epiphanies" and I'm here to tell you they are as common as houseflies,' he said.

'I see,' I said. I think Pollock was there listening to all this, although he and Kitchen and I were not yet known as the 'Three Musketeers.' He was a real painter, so he hardly talked at all. After Terry Kitchen became a real painter, he, too, hardly talked at all.

' "Contentedly adrift in the cosmos," were you?' Kitchen said to me. 'That is a perfect description of a non- epiphany, that rarest of moments, when God Almighty lets go of the scruff of your neck and lets you be human for little while. How long did the feeling last?'

'Oh - maybe half an hour,' I said.

And he leaned back in his chair and said with deep satisfaction: 'And there you are.'