This is an especially mournful day for me, as he was really the only fiction writer I liked and respected. Not that I don't like fiction or anything like that, I just don't get books. Well, I mean I know how to read and all that, I just don't know how to find new books. With music, I know enough that I pick an album and see if there's anyone on it I know, or if it's a good label, or if I've read a review, etc. But I'm just not book literate in that way, so Kurt was pretty much the only fiction writer I'd pick up on regular occasion.
He was also a humble Midwestern boy with a good deal of Iowa connections, so I always felt a bit more of a connection to him that most other "populist" writers who usually don't know anything at all about actual working people.
But mostly I just loved the fact that he could tell a good story, but also didn't dick around with useless crap. He put it out there and really seemed to not really care what people thought. For instance, in reflecting on his political beliefs, he wrote:
"At the time I was working in public relations for GE. At the same time, another GE employee, Ronald Regan, was going around to various Chambers of Commerce preaching the evils of Socialism. I never actually met him, so to this day I remain a Socialist."
But really my favorite quote gets more the heart of who Kurt was both as a human and a writer:
"Still and all, why bother? Heres my answer: Many people need desperately to receive this message: 'I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people don't care about them. You are not alone' "
Goodbye Kurt, you will be sorely missed.