RIP Kurt Vonnegut

We lost a great soul on Wednesday, as Kurt Vonnegut passed away in Manhattan. In its obituary, the New York Times refers to him as “a dark comic talent and urgent moral vision,” and likens him to Mark Twain. I feel slightly ashamed that I had not realized how apt a comparison that was, until now. I could waste time, mine and yours, waxing poetic about how brilliant and thoughtful and funny he was as both writer and man, but I think I’ll simply say, Kurt Vonnegut is who inspired me to be a writer and for that I will forever praise, and as many a writer will do their inspiration, occasionally damn him.
I know our country and world are still in the deepest of holes, dear scribe, but I hope that you and your dear friend Joe Heller are up (or down!) there, having a drink and living it up.
So it goes.

5 thoughts on “RIP Kurt Vonnegut”

  1. The man was as important to me as any other would be writer. I too was first directed to Vonnegut (to Slaughterhouse 5 – arguably his finest) after having written a character that unknowingly bore a strong resemblance to Billy Pilgrim. It was love at first sight. It was like the man was reading my mind, such was his singular genius. On my 21st birthday I gathered up all the various hints and clues about where he lived and set out in search of his house on the east side, in the shadow of the UN. When I found the one, I sat on a stoop across the street and smoked a cigar. 15 years later I was walking thru that same neighborhood talking on my cell phone when I bumped into a man who looked like the reincarnation of Twain, white linen pants, saddle shoes, crazy corona of hair. He was dropping a letter in a mailbox. I’ve met countless film stars and musicians in my line of work, but I choked. I stood silently and watched him shuffle back to his apartment. It was my chance to say thank you and I “bobbled” it too. So it goes, as we all say.
    So it goes.

  2. Thanks for the comment! You know, despite spending much of my life living within 10 miles of him on the East End of Long Island and having many friends in common with my family (Joe Heller being one of them) I don’t think I ever met the man. Bobbling a meeting with a hero is perfectly ok, my friend!

  3. Oh wow. Well, Mark, me too.
    Listen: My seventh grade lit teacher grew pretty sick of having all my essays sound like his (or at least a seventh grader’s version of his), and meeting him was a defining moment in my life–which I totally bobbled, of course. He is also my father’s age. And what’s funny is, despite not sharing his politics, my dad shared his personality. Very sad. Cheers, Henry

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