As I'm sure you've now heard, I recently waded deep into Kurt Vonnegut land/world to write my recent novella As Much Protein as an Egg. I have a short story coming in the same vein soon as well. But what you may NOT know is that yesterday marked the 7-year anniversary of the great writer's passing. It got me to finally post what I've been meaning to for a few weeks. I encountered the following quote in his non-fiction collection PALM SUNDAY, published in 1981. Boy, did he hit the nail on the head. Read it, see what you think, share your thoughts. I'm eager to know what you think:
I am a member of what I believe to be the last recognizable generation of full-time, life-time American novelists. We appear to be standing more or less in a row. It was the Great Depression which made us similarly edgy and watchful. It was World War II which lined us up so nicely, whether we were men or women, whether we were ever in uniform or not. It was an era of romantic anarchy in publishing which gave us money and mentors, willy-nilly, when we were young--while we learned our craft. Words printed on pages were still the principal form of long-distance communication and stored information in America when we were young.
Nor are there many publishers and editors and agents left who are eager to find some way to get money and other forms of encouragement to young writers who write as clumsily as members of my literary generation did when we started out. The wild and wonderful and expensive guess was made back then that we might acquire some wisdom and learn how to write halfway decently by and by. Writers were needed that much back then.
It was an amusing and instructive time for writers--for hundreds of them.
Television wrecked the short-story branch of the industry, and now accountants and business school graduates dominate book publishing. They feel that money spent on someone's first novel is good money down a rat hole. They are right. It almost always is.
So, as I say, I think I belong to America's last generation of novelists. Novelists will come one by one from now on, not in seeming families, and will perhaps write only one or two novels, and let it go at that. Many will have inherited or married money.
Yes, he wrote this in 1981 or likely earlier. What do you think? Is it true?
Sure looks to me like he knew what he was saying.