Some thoughts about Kurt Vonnegut Jnr, who just died…
He didn’t believe in an afterlife. His advice to people, should they ever find themselves being judged by God, was to say this, “Look, God, I didn’t ask to be born.”
He often did his own illustrations (see Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions) and went on to sell screen prints in later life. One of the ones he sold a lot of is a scrawny looking star (below) which to him was an anal sphincter.
His advice on writing was to make your novel like a whorehouse. I think he meant make it worthwhile for someone to drop in. He certainly wasn’t a fan of ambiguity. I liked him right away because he didn’t ever waste your time building up a lot of pointless suspense, just because as a writer you can.
I think it was interesting that in his last book, Man Without a Country, old Kurt said ‘America is addicted to oil’ and that phrase ended up being used by none other than George W Bush in a big speech. The book was largely about the stupidity of Bush, yet the monkey-faced president appropriated the slogan, presumably to sound informed and concerned.
Irony on a bike!
The bit Dubya didn’t borrow of course was the part where Kurt explains the behaviour of the ‘addict’ who, realising the supply is running out, becomes deeply irrational and violent in the scrabble for the last remaining bits.