My Night with Kurt Vonnegut

I don’t know if I could call it a “date” per se, but he was there, I was there, there were candles on the table and pasta on plates.

Well, to be fair, there were about seven other people and I may not have been sitting the furthest away from him, but it was close. He had come to our school to speak, and as a recent member of the Forum Planning Committee, I snuck in on the pre-lecture dinner reservation. It would be an exaggeration to say that he and I had a conversation that night, but he did ask me once if I was the kind of Indian that wore a diamond on my forehead. And to prove my true appreciation for his writing, I had no sarcastic response for him.

His lecture was great. I remember him doing a bit about story arcs– the conventional arc, exceptions to the conventional arc, and the Kafka story arc, which is basically just straight descent. The rest of it is fuzzy. I remember that the hall was packed because there were students there from colleges in Alabama and Louisiana. There was a guy in the front row who asked Vonnegut what his favorite vegetable was, and Vonnegut started singing and left the stage mid-sentence and mid-song.

Nothing beats Welcome to the Monkey House, which is the first thing of his that I ever read. It’s possible that all the sexy stuff was what got me hooked when I was thirteen, but I’m sure that now that’s been replaced with a serious, mature understanding of his craft and socio-politics.

Who am I kidding? Long Walk to Forever is still my favorite because it’s a sappy love story.

I haven’t read his last few books, but I am sad that there will be no more.

3 Responses to My Night with Kurt Vonnegut

  1. Pulao says:

    PS: our login/password for NYTimes is 12apostrophes/12apostrophes

  2. Kris says:

    Cat’s Cradle was always my favorite, but Slapstick, with the teeney-weeney Chinese plague and the plan, a good one still if anyone wants to try it, of creating artificial famiies with new middle names and numbers, is a singular work of art.

    Hi ho. Sigh.

  3. dbay says:

    Yes, a big hearty RIP to Kurt Vonnegut. He was a gem. I’d like to read his most recent book of essays (‘A Man Without a Country’), primarily because he slams the Bush administration in it. Also because he’s, well, witty and smart.

    I’m glad my Party Report post made someone else post something quickly. I actually only did the party posting because I was so tired of seeing my other post atop the page. πŸ™‚

    Do you think Kurt was trying to be funny/facetious when asked you about a diamond on your head?

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