Kurt Vonnegut, 84, has died.* In my early twenties I read my first two Vonnegut books: Cat's Cradle and Galapagos. Those two books completely changed the way I viewed literature. Mixing satire, science and politics, his work stands out among the best work of all time. Twenty years later, the last Vonnegut book I bought was A Man Without a Country.
The world will miss him for sure. I will miss him.
Two years ago I entered a writing contest sponsored by the Writers' Workshop of Asheville. I don't often enter writing contests, but this one was guest-judged by Kurt Vonnegut. My story was awarded an Honorable Mention, which was nice, but even better was receiving my story back with Kurt Vonnegut's compliments on the first page and the fact that when I took the story out of the envelope the smell of cologne on the manuscript knocked me on my ass. :)
Thank you, Mr. Vonnegut, for all you've done.
*Article courtesy of The New York Times
- Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.