WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt”

Hey, Kurt Vonnegut fans. Did you hear?

Someone was digging around in old files and stumbled across five unpublished short stories by Mr. V. They seem to date from the early ’50s, before he had published any novels and was busy sending stories to magazines like Collier’s.

Lucky you, though. You get to read one of those five new old pieces via The Atlantic. It’s called “The Drone King.”

It wouldn’t be a spoiler to let you know that “drone” here refers to bees.

As young as he was when he wrote this story – about thirty – Vonnegut’s humor and offbeat vision shines through. Even he probably had no idea at the time that he had brilliant classics like Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions in him. Or that he would become one of America’s most beloved men of letters.

If he had known, maybe he’d have opted out. Who’s to say?

I might have mentioned a couple of years ago that I took a class in college devoted to Kurt, and the professor claimed to know him well enough to invite him to come and speak to us. Unfortunately he declined, but he wished us happiness in his note and, I think, expressed befuddlement that we’d want to study his books when we could be reading Beowulf. (I probably made that part up.)

I laughed my way through all of those books, but I still chuckle all these years later at the character, Vox Humana, who was named after an organ stop. And who can forget Vonnegut’s drawing of an asshole from Breakfast of Champions?

Yes, we do miss him. But he’s still here, in a way, and these new stories make it feel like he never left.

[Photo via Wiki Commons.]

7 comments on ““Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt”

  1. Phillip McCollum
    September 12, 2017

    Vonnegut is another writer in my list of “I really need to read their stuff.” Thanks for passing this along. I’ve bookmarked it!

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 12, 2017

      He definitely had a unique mind. Plus he was good pals with Joseph Heller. Two giants!

  2. John W. Howell
    September 12, 2017

    Kurt is my absolutely most favorite author. Thanks for the info, Kevin

  3. Luanne
    September 12, 2017

    He was my favorite for years. My top one is God Bless You, Mr Rosewater.

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 12, 2017

      I’ll have to reread that one … Been a long time. 😉

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This entry was posted on September 12, 2017 by in Writing and tagged , , .
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