The first news to penetrate my brain this morning was that Kurt Vonnegut had died. Already people around the blogosphere are talking about it and how his writing and speaking affected them.
Solonor's Ink Well
The Midnight Radio
Drycleaning Las Vegas
He was a steady background to my life, something from my formative years that toddled around in the back of my head, someone I recognized, someone whose words would pop up in my conversation without the necessary attribution. How important was he to me? I can't say. It's very subtle, his effect. I know he was far more important to me than I was to him, one more variable in the huge equation of fame and influence that puzzles me in this world. I always got the impression that he fiddled with that equation, too, impressed that he was on the other side of the equals sign and happy to use whatever that gave him to influence the world, but still not quite convinced that he'd done the equation right.
It's more to the point to say that, right after grasping the fact of his death, my second thought was I should send some manner of condolence card to my friend Twinkie, who was always a huge and constant fan of his. Really, though, that might be a bit much. I should wait until Tom Robbins dies to do that.