First off, thank you for the fine tribute to Mr. Kurt (Cover, “Kurt Vonnegut: The Exit Interview,” April 18-25). I was interested in your comment about the book signing at L.S. Ayres. However, it wasn’t true that “nobody showed up.” A few people, my friend, Carolyn Woollen, and I were in the basement at the signing. He sat at a lectern with a fierce look on his face and we were certainly intimidated. The book, which makes your article title all the more appropriate, was God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. After several moments of uncomfortable silence, he said, “Well, do you want your books signed?” A few folks moved to the lectern where he sat on a stool somewhat hunched over — untamed eyebrows and hair. I stood on the sidelines with one of his books I had borrowed from the library. He saw me hugging the book and said, “Well, do you want that signed?”
“It’s only a library book,” I replied.
“Good. You’re the only smart one here.”
And that was the extent of my “personal contact” with this treasured author.
Carolyn Woollen, aforementioned friend, recognized a few people there and said a couple were relatives who were less than tolerant of him and his “anti-Indianapolis” attitude. Personally, I agreed with the articles in the NUVO, which addressed his relationship with Indianapolis. Having been raised in Chicago, I, too, found Indianapolis a barren land, but it no longer is that “no place.” He recognized the evolution as well.
Again, thanks for your article. I, too, savored each of his books, some of which I’ve read several times.