A picture of young Kurt Vonnegut that I stole from a German Web site.

Word reached the compound today of the passing of Kurt Vonnegut. While this can hardly be called a tragedy (Vonnegut lived 84 long, long years) or a surprise (he spoke often of committing suicide, both passively — by cigarette — and actively), still, it’s…something.

One might be tempted to ask how someone so severely depressed could create such beauty, humor, and humanity. Or conversely how someone capable of creating such beauty, humor, and humanity could be so severely depressed. But the two seem to go hand-in-hand so often that it doesn’t even surprise me anymore.

No time for any in-depth consideration of Vonnegut’s work and life today; others will be taking up that task (Cecil?). But I wanted to take just a moment to say goodbye, thanks, and God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut.

(P.S.: For memorial listening, might I recommend the song “Nice, Nice, Very Nice,” by Ambrosia? Look it up.)