Kurt Vonnegut Opens Up About His Childhood, His Parents and His Writing in a Rare 1970 Interview

In the most recent episode of the wonderfully animated series Blank on Blank, legendary author Kurt Vonnegut speaks to a classroom full of NYU students in November 1970 about his childhood in Indianapolis, recalling his beloved nanny Ida Young and pondering the fact that he was older than some of his heroes when they died.

I am now older than George Orwell when he died. I’ll soon be older than Jack Kerouac when he died. Anyway, I’ve wondered why all these people kill themselves and I think that writers, creative writers, are in the process of becoming. They are humanity becoming. It’s like reaching in to the mouth of the student and taking a hold of a piece of tape in the back of the student’s mouth without getting bitten and seeing what the hell is written on it and then just keep pulling it up and the person doesn’t know what the hell it is. I think it becomes an exhausting thing to do. That’s about it. A lot of people decline to do it anymore. It becomes too unpleasant.


image via Blank on Blank