Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut

In lieu of flowers, JIll Krementz and their daughter Lily Vonnegut would like donations made to The Turtle Bay Association, 224 East 47th Street, New York 10017 (Photograph ©by Jill Krementz)
In Memoriam. 4.12.07 - Kurt Vonnegut died two nights ago here in New York. I saw him only several weeks ago at the birthday party of his wife Jill Krementz (see NYSD 2.20.07). I was a big fan of Vennegut’s when I was in college, reading all of his books. I hadn’t read anything of his in years however, until last night when I saw an excerpt from “Slaughterhouse Five” on http://www.atrios.blogspot.com/.

So I started reading, and of course I found myself laughing out loud, and finally reveling in the pleasure of pure Vonnegut (who somewhere within is pure me, or something like that).

I had the pleasure of the man’s presence a number times because of his wife who has published some of her compelling photojournals on the NYSD. However, I cannot say I ever really had the pleasure of his company. I found him somewhat intimidating and highly uninterested in me, and so I was both cowed and in awe. This tells you a little more about me than it reveals about him, of course. I could see from observing those whose company he kept that he was as revered and amusing  an individual as he was a writer of books.

I should add that despite my own diffidence in his presence, I never wavered from my sense that I was in the presence of a brilliant man, a humanist, an ironist; an artist and a humble giant.