One of my favorite writers (and humans) ever, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., died six years ago yesterday.
If you know me personally, you would know how much I love Kurt Vonnegut. He has been a monumental literary hero in my life. I read my first book by him (Cat’s Cradle) on a boring summer day, in front of my computer, not knowing what to expect. I fell in love with his words and his dark, dark, dark humor and humanity always resonated with me.
I went on to read more of his works (pirated, on my slow PC), then started building up a humble legit Vonnegut collection on my shelves. I still remember the first time I saw a Kurt Vonnegut paperback. It was in Fullybooked and when I saw five of his books lined up in a shelf, I stifled a scream. I have to buy those books! And I did, eventually, after painstakingly saving up for it. There are so many things you will do for love.
It’s rare to find a hero that speaks so well to you, and very wonderfully tells the things you wanted to say, but couldn’t. Or don’t know how. I related so well with him through his works. He was my spirit animal – Kurt Vonnegut was cynical (as I was), but he was also hopeful (as I came to be). He taught me that you can be both. To paraphrase a fellow fan, Steve Almond,
Vonnegut has seen the worst of human conduct, and refused to lie about it. But he has not allowed his doubt against humanity curdle into cynicism… With his books, Kurt Vonnegut converted grief into laughter by means of courageous imagination. Like any decent parent, he had made the astonishing sorrow of the examined life bearable.
Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” Alackday, and fuck my luck – that became the method to my madness in dealing with horrifics and my occasionally joyless life. We are all fucked and are going to die, but things are still funny.
We’re all part of a granfalloon, Mr. Vonnegut! I never knew you, but I miss you. Thanks for all the stories.