This is a long overdue post, as there are only 4 days left to see this exhibit.
So, if you know me, maybe you have heard this story. If you have been to my house, maybe you have noticed a framed letter on my wall. This is a really cool story that I am happy to share now.
Back in 2000, when I was a student at Hampshire College in Amherst, Ma., it was announced that Kurt Vonnegut would be doing a lecture series and residency at Smith College in Northampton, Ma., just a town over. Vonnegut was really the first author I ever got into and I devoured his books as soon as I could get my hands on them. The way he would humanize a mix of humor and sci-fi fantasy really resonated with me and it still does.
I was doing some research and saw that he had most recently been focusing on visual art and painting and he had listed Alexander Calder as one of his main influences. This shared influence made me feel even more connected to the guy. I got inspired, grabbed some wire and whipped up a little portrait that afternoon.
I took it to the lecture he was doing that night at a little lecture hall off the Smith College campus. The lecture was completely packed and I didn't get in, so before I went home I showed the sculpture to the front door guy. He told me to go around back and talk to the guy there. The guy around back said it was a cool sculpture and told me that he would put it in Kurt Vonnegut's dressing room.
That was that. I figured that was the end of the story.
My phone rang Sunday morning at about 7:30am - I figured it was my dad calling to mess with me. A deep voice on the line said "Hello, this is Kurt Vonnegut calling for Dillon Markey."
"Uh, this is he"
"Hello, yes. I need your address."
"Thank you" *click
A week after that, I received a card in the mail that would become my most prized possession.
Fast forward about 14 years. Kurt Vonnegut has passed away, and as he would say himself "So it goes." I was looking at the card, which I have framed on my wall, and thought "I wonder if Edith Vonnegut has a website." I found it, sent an email and again expected to hear nothing back... but then about a week later, she got back and told me I should contact her sister Nanette. I wrote Nanette and she got back to me within an hour. She had my sculpture on the wall in her living room the whole time! She said it captured her father's spirit and was a cherished piece of family history. Then I got emotional, but that's another story.
Now (unfortunately for just a few more days), the sculpture is on display at Cornell University's Johnson Museum of Art in the exhibit "So It Goes": Drawings by Kurt Vonnegut. It's an amazing new chapter of my favorite story.