Dear Mr. Vonnegut,
Thank you for your good books, stories, and essays over the years. I apologize for just getting around to writing to you now, several years after you left the planet. I hope that this is better late than never. You see, I’ve been struggling a lot over the last year an a half, making feeble attempts to justify (or is it excuse) my existence. Journaling was never really my thing, but I do like to write letters. As the book of collected letters I’m reading (edited by Dan Wakefield) shows, you were a prolific correspondent. I’ve never written extensively to people or entities that couldn’t respond, so please excuse the bumps, pitfalls and detours that this blog makes as I find my way.
I started reading your books when I was an angst-laden (aren’t they all?) teenager. My first was Cat’s Cradle, followed quickly by Slaughterhouse-Five, and then Welcome to the Monkey House (I think). The Springfield Public Library in Springfield, Pennsylvania should have the records. I found myself caught up in your brief wit, your impossibly possible scenarios and, most importantly, your touching, humanistic hope that people would somehow, some way get better. I’ve somehow lost that hope and mislaid that faith. I have permitted myself to become jaded and cynical and distrustful of other people at my job, in my community and in the world. And I don’t know how or where along the way this happened.
You struggled throughout your life with bouts of depression and you spent time contemplating your mother’s suicide. It seems that every 5 years or so, I experience a major life shift, and as I get older I have a more difficult time adjusting myself and my perspective to these changes (personal, career and locale).
You are dead. You can’t actually write back to me, which is probably for the best. This way, I can imagine us having an actual dialogue wherein I’m not criticised, belittled, demeaned or otherwise given short-shrift.