Rest in Peace,
There was a personal sweetness about Kurt Vonnegut that you don't find in every great writer. If anything, greatness in that realm often seems to spring from disagreeable personalities, personalities driven by the kind of inner demons that prevent people from simply being kind to others. But not Kurt. He always somehow found a way to be scrupulous in telling the truth and cutting through the bullshit while at the same time being graceful with others. Coastal simpletons might be moved to write that off to his Indiana roots--you know, midwesterners are always friendly, in their fevered imaginations--but anyone who watched him over many years sensed something far more interesting. Having been broken himself by life, he was respectful of the larger brokeness of humanity, and of individual humans. It left him with a light, common touch that reminded one of Mark Twain at his finest.
Of all the tributes I've seen after his recent death, this one was perhaps the sweetest, the most reminiscent of the man in its understated loveliness. He left his young protege with simple, important advice: "write every day." To review earlier mentions of the great one, click here.