I never knew Kurt Vonnegut
This morning the sad news of the death of Kurt Vonnegut, whose work I have yet to read. But in reading this article by Jackie Blaise from USA Today quoted by WBIR in Knoxville, Tennessee, about his death, I am inspired by this lovely quote to sample him:
At Shortridge high school, he was editor of The Shortridge Daily Echo and later in college was on the staff at Cornell Daily Sun. In a speech at the university in 1980, he described how much he enjoyed getting out the news: "And it is surely curious that I, as an outspoken enemy of the disease called loneliness, should now remember as my happiest times in Ithaca the hours when I was most alone. I was happiest here when I was all alone - and it was very late at night, and I was walking up the hill after having put the Sun to bed."
The article reports on Vonnegut's background and philosophy:
He came from Free Thinkers, now called humanists, Vonnegut wrote, "who try to behave as decently, as fairly, and as honorably as we can without any expectation of rewards or punishments in an afterlife."
Isn't that nice!
Clearly the family influence was strong:
His great-grandfather, Clemons Vonnegut, was the first president of the Freethinkers Society of Indianapolis, established in 1870. Vonnegut had been the honorary president of the American Humanist Association since 1992 - the same year he was named Humanist of the Year. He replaced sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov.
His books have lots of laughs, but he also wrote about "pain, purpose and Providence," observed writer John Updike. "Though raised in a family of atheists, Vonnegut quarrels with God like a parochial-school dropout," Updike wrote.
Maybe now is the time to meet this highly-respected author.
Labels: Authors Loss Literature