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I have always been a Kurt Vonnegut fan — he was one of the first writers I really, truly, completely loved. After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the first thing I did was run out and buy a new copy of Slaughterhouse-Five, then go home and read it from cover to cover without moving from my spot.

For whatever reason — and there were many — this was my response to the horror. I wanted to see how a great artist had dealt with horror (in his case, his presence at the firebombing of Dresden during WWII) and how he had been able to express what had happened.

And then, a miracle. I learned that Kurt Vonnegut would be in Chicago (where I then lived) to give a lecture at the public library (he was in town to accept a literary award) just a few weeks later.

Yes, I was in the same room with Kurt Vonnegut — and he was as wonderful, witty, and warm as you’d imagine. Of course, people in the audience asked what he felt about what had happened on September 11th. I don’t remember exactly what he said. I was overwhelmed with emotion at the time — and could only think of what he’d written in Slaughterhouse-Five:So it goes.”

Thank you, Kurt. Thank you. Thank you. For me, “So it goes” is not a call to complacence, it is a call to live noble lives, despite it all. We will try to follow your fine example. God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut.