His writings, his beliefs, simply his way of being, influenced my younger self profoundly & still hold a great deal of sway in this somewhat older body in which I now find myself. Of course, Vonnegut would claim, & I think rightfully so, that these two identities are interchangeable, occupying the same time-line albeit at different points, but both exist together, now & forever intertwined.
More important than his works & his philosophies though was his place in the literary triumvirate that is one of the foundations of my relationship with my dad. Devouring those books off my dad's bookshelf in my pre-pubescence became a catapult to help us traverse that leap from being father & son to being friends.
As high school reared it ugly head, the oh-so-long (but equally wonderful) times we spent editing my school papers dwindled. Our Scrabble games also slowed a bit (although they picked up with a vengeance whilst I was in college~ when I finally beat him for the first time!).
But Vonnegut has always remained a cornerstone.
For better or worse, he & my father are responsible for the writer I am today, & a good deal of the man I am today as well.
So it was with quite a good deal of joy that I found this portrait I had drawn of Mr. Vonnegut in one of my old sketchbooks. It's unfinished, smudgy pencil & all. It's certainly not an antique per se, but it is somewhat vintage.
I had the pleasure of sharing it with Mr. Vonnegut at a book signing that I went to with my dad. He looked at it quite intently, then looked up at me with that same bemused smile that he wears in the drawing.
That was a good day indeed.
so it goes...
Happy birthday, my friend.