A Vonnegut Anecdote

Dave Margoshes is a Regina-based writer who's originally from the States.  He sent the following anecdote to the Sask Writers listserv and has kindly allowed me to reprint it here.

Since there's been a lot of Vonnegut talk recently, I thought I'd toss this in. I was at Iowa in the late '60s, overlapping with him one year.
I didn't take a class from him, but got to know him a bit at Kenney's bar and other hangouts. He was writing Slaughterhouse Five then and consistently had a sort of shell-shocked demeanour. He had a remarkably
hangdog expression, with huge soulful eyes, much like a basset hound,
and was already peppering his conversation with that “So it goes” expression which would become his trademark. One time the workshop
group I was in and his group got together for an extended session – that was the only time I saw him “at work.” He impressed himself on me by the way, after a discusion had gone on for a little while, he would slowly,
mournfully shake his shaggy head, as if overcome by the stupidity (vapidity?) of it all. That silent gesture spoke much louder than any comment he or anyone else could make.


Comments 2

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    I have a funny though unspectacular story as well. One night I'd say 15 years ago or so, my friend James and I were sitting in a pub, when in walks a bunch of very stuffy looking English profs, clearly from Ottawa U. So having nothing better to do and being immature, we promptly started to make fun of them behind their backs. The one thing was how they seemed to be trying for that real corduroy jacket with elbow pads look. So anyways, I said that one of them was trying so hard to be taken seriously that he adopted the “Kurt Vonnegut” look: droopy mustache, wrinkly suit, baggy eyes. Pathetic. Well, about a week later I found out that Vonnegut had been giving a reading in Ottawa or some such thing, and that was likely him after all. Duh!

    Posted 26 Apr 2007 at 8:03 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Man, imagine if you'd somehow made that connection – you should've been making fun of them directly instead of behind their backs! (Would've been great to hear Vonnegut's comeback…)

    Posted 28 Apr 2007 at 8:06 pm
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