In 1967, Kurt Vonnegut corresponded with magazine writer and novelist Richard Gehman, who was about to head off to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop to start a teaching gig. Vonnegut, who taught at the Workshop from 1965 to 1967, had many tips to share.
Practical: “Use the Cedar Rapids airport instead of the Iowa City airport! Fly United instead of Ozarks!” Personal: “Forget your lack of credentials! The University is perfectly used to barbarians in the Workshop.” Professional: “Vance [Bourjaily] is a poor teacher.” Interpersonal: “Run with the painters. I did. The best guy in Iowa City is painter Byron Burford.”
Vonnegut also seemed to know his audience; he told Gehman, who eventually married multiple times: “Don’t ball undergraduates! Their parents are still watching!”
While Vonnegut, who died in 2007, never wrote an autobiography, he did leave letters—lots of them. The new book Kurt Vonnegut: Letters contains many previously unpublished missives from the author, who seems incapable of writing a boring paragraph.
TODAY IN SLATE
False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
Scotland Learns That Breaking Up a Country Is Hard to Do
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola: It Preys on the Compassionate
The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B
How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!
Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey
No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.
The Other Huxtable Effect
Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.