“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”

I know you would have had way more clever things to say about your own death than I, so out of respect I won’t even try.

But I did have the pleasure of meeting you once, back when I was about 15. I had just read Slaughterhouse Five and you asked me for my thoughts on it. My thoughts. A 15 year old. I don’t remember what I said–or, what really kills me, what you said–but the profound impression remained that you could be someone with so many brilliant things to say and still know you have things to learn. Even from a kid.

“When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life,” you once said. “Old age is more like a semicolon.”

I’d like to think you lived like a big old exclamation point. You don’t get that just from farting around.

RIP Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007


23 thoughts on ““I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.””

  1. You know what’s funny (in that cosmically weird way)? I just finished reading “Breakfast of Champions” a couple of days ago. It’s the first of his books I’ve read. I (apparently) NEED to find a copy of “Slaughter-House Five”.Rest in peace, indeed.

  2. Liz, do you remember where you got that shirt? Vonnegut has long been my husband’s absolute favorite writer, so he’s sad today, and I would love to present him with something like that. (Er, not for him. For the baby we’re going to start trying for soon.) Many thanks.

  3. I was going to post about this but couldn’t come up with anything except for this:Rest in peace, Mr. Vonnegut.I’m trying to figure out why my heart is hurting for someone I never even met, and the only explanation I can come up with is that he was one of the good guys.That’s it.Oh, and DAMN could he write.I need to reread Mother Night.

  4. Anon (and curious others): The shirt is from the very awesome Reckon Wordwide, which we featured on Cool Mom Picks < HREF="http://www.coolmompicks.com/2006/08/outcool_the_playgroup.php" REL="nofollow">here.<>GREAT guy and great company – can’t recommend them enough.

  5. My husband and I also shared a discussion last night about Vonnegut. I reminded Mr. Half that he turned me on to Vonnegut (I found “Palm Sunday” on my own and it’s good,too) while we were in college and then introduced me to the book “Eden Express” by Mark Vonnegut. One November ver 20 years ago, KV was being interviewed on the Karen Denard show for the Dallas (KERA) public radio station. My husband called in and invited Vonnegut over for Thanksgiving dinner. The author politely declined, but I thought it was an interesting moment worth sharing. Another great voice…gone.

  6. Wonderful writer who will be missed. I too just finished reading one of his works this weekend (A man without a country) It was worth reading.

  7. what a great post for a great contributor to american culture. Welcome to the Monkey house is probably my favorite collection of short stories by any author ever, and a text i greatly hope to include in my english classrooms in the future.rock on, mr. V.

  8. I, too, was saddened by the news. Vonnegut was undoubtedly my favorite author and Slaughterhouse Five, Mother Night and (the underrated) Hocus Pocus are some of my favorites.I had the chance to see him speak when he came to my university, and — as in his writing — he was opinionated and thought-provoking without a whiff of arrogance or entitlement. I wish I had had the chance to speak with him.RIP. So it goes.

  9. My husband said to me this morning: “Did you know Kurt Vonnegut died?” And I was like, “no.” Then he tromped down the stairs to work and I was left to marvel at the fact that this conversation had occured. First of all, my husband never reads books; secondly, he never reports the news to me. But he must be familiar with Mr. Vonnegut’s work from his school days and they must’ve had an effect on him. And that really warms my book-lovin’ heart.

  10. Kurt Vonnegut was a particular favorite of mine, as is his wife. I had to tell someone to not speak to me at all today after he said “That guy creeped me out.”

  11. Sad. Even more sad that I hadn’t heard until I read this post (we’ve all been shut down with the stomach flu). I wrote an essay on Harrison Bergeron in college and it was one of the reasons I become an English major. As someone who feels lately like their life is set with a comma, hurrah for people who lived like a !

  12. “If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”–Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), “A Man Without a Country.”I’m not even going to try to write a lousy poem today. Maybe tomorrow.SK

  13. oh, has modernnursery ever contacted you about winning the highchair?i sent them your address when you won, but i just want to make sure they contacted you atleast.i’ve got another contest going now i hope you’ll enter

  14. This is a lovely tribute, Liz. Like many of the other women here, my husband turned me onto Vonnegut too. It’s a sad time, to be sure.I love Thalia’s shirt! Very cool.

  15. Is there a feminine version of Kurt? Kurta, Kurtelda, Kurtina… I’m trying to help, damn it!

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