Library Blog

Creativity for Kurt Vonnegut's Centennial

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

A happy handful of Library members and friends gathered in the Whitridge Room on November 11 to celebrate the 100th birthday of beloved author Kurt Vonnegut with a zine-making workshop, led by Ayun Raspberry-14 Halliday. At 11:11 AM, in honor of him and of Armistice Day, Ms. Halliday gave a brief reading from Breakfast of Champions, followed by a minute of silence. Join in the little ritual whenever you like:

We then dove in to piles of paper, pens, pencils, scissors, markers, magazines, and old encyclopedias to create a many-paged zine. Ms. Halliday offered a similar workshop a few days later at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library in Indianapolis. Everyone's combined work brings the zine to 52 pages, including freehand illustrations, collage, beautiful lettering, quotations from Vonnegut, thoughts about him, and images of him and his world.



You can also follow the basic guidelines to make your own zine - Vonnegut-related or on any other topic.

In case you're wondering what inspired Ms. Halliday's spectacular middle name, it's due to Vonnegut's work Slapstick; or, Lonesome No More. There he writes

'As I said in my speech': I told him, 'your new middle name would consist of a noun, the name of a flower or fruit or nut or vegetable or legume, or a bird or a reptile or a fish, or a mollusk, or a gem or a mineral or a chemical element -- connected by a hyphen to a number between one and twenty.' I asked him what his name was at the present time.
'Elmer Glenville Grasso,' he said.
'Well,' I said, 'you might become Elmer Uranium-3 Grasso, say. Everybody with Uranium as a part of their middle name would be your cousin.'
'That brings me back to my first question,' he said, 'What if I get some artificial relative I absolutely can't stand?'
....'What is so novel about a person's having a relative he can't stand?' I asked him. 'Wouldn't you say that sort of thing has been going on now for perhaps a million years, Mr Grasso?'

You can get your own Vonnegut-inspired middle name from this fun generator courtesy of The Surrealist.

Or if you'd simply like to read more Vonnegut - and wouldn't we all? - start here in the Library's stacks:

The Library of America collection (edited by Sidney Offit):

And more here

The contributors to the zine are Michael Halper | Karla Keffer | Lucinda Williams | Sara Holliday | Laura Plybon | Suzanne McConnell | Cassidy Kristiansen | Sandye Renz | Laura-Marie River | Victor Peace Nopales | Johnny Hollyhock-18 Masiulewicz | Joe Hillard | Jeff Dorchen | Lisa Menéndez Weidman | Clark Kahlo | Valita Fredland | Geno Leser | Beth Carney | Jay Carney | Liz Ulen | Denise Szocka | Ginger Claremohr | D’Aine Greene | Betty T. Kao

Learn more about Ayun Halliday and her other work on her website.

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