Maybe you’ve read some of his books like Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions or Slaughterhouse Five. Perhaps you’ve also seen that movie.
I always appreciated his dark humor and the ease with which he could weave such interesting stories about ordinary people and their extraordinary circumstances. You’ll especially like his work if you’re fond of really good science fiction.
If you’ve never read any of Vonnegut’s writing, I’d recommend starting with his collection of short stories called Welcome to the Monkey House.
I met Vonnegut in the early 1990s at a Denver LoDo art gallery where he was exhibiting a collection of his prints.
These prints had evolved from the doodling he used to do in the margins of his manuscripts. He moved from doodles to simple line drawings to more serious painting. He moved easily from author to artist.
One framed piece I have in the office is actually a postcard introducing “a new silkscreen from Author/Artist Kurt Vonnegut.”
The piece is called “Trout in Cohoes” and features a character from his writing named Kilgore Trout.
“In 1972, Kilgore Trout lived in a basement apartment in Cohoes, New York. He made his living as an installer of aluminum combination storm windows and screens.”
The postcard came in an envelope and was undamaged from the mailing, making it suitable for framing.
Kilgore Trout is wearing a blue turtleneck sweater, is unshaven and has 11 blue eyes.
The postcard arrived because John and I had purchased a print at an earlier exhibit. We never could have afforded to buy Kilgore Trout because the price of the print was $1000 for the regular edition; $1400 for the deluxe.
The majority of the silkscreens at the earlier exhibit were out of our reach, too. We had gone just to meet the man.
But we were surprised to see one print that we could afford, if we pooled our money.
It’s print #29 of 99 and it shows a man (who bears a striking resemblance to Vonnegut) with black curly hair, thick black eyebrows and a long black beard that spills down from the top to off the bottom of the page. The lines are simple and the colors are limited to black and yellow on white paper.
He signed it to us in the margin of the print and added a doodle of himself, in profile.