I'm trying not to cry; Kurt Vonnegut is gone. Oh, shit. I am crying. This man changed my life, my perspective. He offered visions of things I'd never seen before but applied values to them that I shared. He was absurd, he was satiricle, he was obscene, he was creative, he was cranky, he was funny. The world will be a much more mundane place without him.
I discovered his writing in my first quarter of my first year in college. I was hesitant at first to read his most famous book called Slaughterhouse Five, since I am highly squeamish and overly sensitive to violence. So I started with Slapstick instead. I'd never read anything like it. I had spent most of my time in high school reading run-of-the mill fantasy books and some science fiction, but this book pushed me into an absurd world that I loved. It opened up my mind to the vast limitlessness of the imagination and the great value of the whimsical.
I read every book of his I could get my hands on. At the same time, I began reading John Irving's works with the same obsession, only to later find out that Vonnegut was Irving's graduate school advisor when they were both at University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop. I loved the stories of them hanging out together that I read in John Irving's memoirs. I would have loved to have had the chance to listen in on a conversation between those two.
Goodbye, Kurt Vonnegut. We grieve for you today. We have lost your voice of reason, your moral outrage, your sense of humor, your lovely wrinkly face, your imagination, your grasp of the ironic, your vision, your heart, and your wisdom. Thank you for all you have given us; God willing, we will preserve it.