12 April 2007

And So It Goes...

News of the death of the great Kurt Vonnegut traveled fast today, and certainly, there have been no shortage of eloquent tributes written, broadcast, and posted, with more to come as his legacy becomes finite but will no doubt play a huge part as to how some future, hopefully more sane generation, will regard the 20th century.

Vonnegut's official site www.vonnegut.com has gone dark with just a single, and very sweet, tribute page accessible, sketched in his own hand (you could buy the lithographs of his art there previously--presumably, it will be relaunched in another form at a later date, once the family has had time to mourn and his business affairs have been taken care of).

Here's Lidia's thoughts on the man and his works:

"At some point, some time in my teenage years, someone lent me Breakfast of Champions. I can’t remember who that person was. I can’t remember the day it happened, or what I was wearing (although it’s safe to say it was probably black). And I can’t remember for the life of me why this person thought I would want to read this book.

I gave it back to them the next day. I read it in one sitting. Then I went to the library and took out everything else they had that had Kurt Vonnegut’s name on it. And so started my one great literary love.

When you meet people and they learn your interests, they always ask you, “what’s your favourite movie?” or “who’s your favourite band?” or “what 10 records would you take with you to a desert island?” and I could never answer any of those with any certainty. But not so for “who’s your favourite writer?”. That, without even a second thought, was always Kurt Vonnegut. Dark humour? Check. Pointed satire? Double check. Flights of fancy and a wild imagination? On the money. No one else has ever, or since, been so directly in line with my own views, my own feelings, my own life. And I am counting movie makers, musicians and artists in that.

There’s not a lot I can say that hasn’t already been said in the obits and retrospectives and tributes that have poured out today. What I want to say is that one of my greatest regrets in life is that I never had the opportunity to stand in a line with a couple of favourite books in hand, get his distinctive autograph, and just say thanks.

So, thanks, Mr. Vonnegut. I’m going to miss you..."
Esquire's online site has just posted his 1985 short story "A Dream Of The Future (Not Including Lobsters"). Read it here.