Wednesday, April 11, 2007

God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut
1922 - 2007

I was thinking up an idea for a blog entry. As the concept came into clear focus and all the little microorganisms of funniness began coming together, I heard the news at the end of the eleven o'clock broadcast that one of the great American satire and fiction writers died. Kurt Vonnegut at the age of 84.
At a small party in 1996, someone told me about Slaughterhouse Five. They said it was a funny unconventional anti-war story I should check out. I got myself a copy and read it in a few days. After that I read Breakfast Of Champions, which was something entirely different in terms of a book that I have read. The absurdly scrawled pictures, the extra personal details of the characters, it was just zany counterculture fiction gone wild.
When you go into the world of Vonnegut fiction there will be twists and turns and shocking images and statements. This is to be expected in all of his works. It's sad that he is now gone.
So it goes. Someone once attended one of his last in-store book signing appearances for his last novel, Timequake and brought me back an autographed hardcover. For that I am very grateful. Usually, an autograph from a celebrity like an actor to me is banal and uninteresting. But when a writer or a musician who employs writing to their respective crafts, gives you their autograph, it's way more authentic to me. It's like the writer is saying to you personally - thanks for reading my stuff. And you can say back - thanks for writing it. Thanks for writing, Kurt.