Mark Vonnegut on art and mental illness

MonkeyMoonMachine

Mark Vonnegut, son of novelist Kurt, wrote a book a couple years ago about his bipolar disorder. An excerpt, from which I’ve taken some cuts below, is here.

If my great-grandfather Bernard Vonnegut hadn’t started crying while doing inventory at Vonnegut Hardware and hadn’t told his parents that he wanted to be an artist instead of selling nails and if his parents hadn’t figured out how to help him make that happen, there are many buildings in and around Indianapolis that wouldn’t have gotten built. Kurt senior wouldn’t have created paintings or furniture or carvings or stained glass. And Kurt junior, if he existed at all, would have been just another guy with PTSD–no stories, no novels, no paintings. And I, if I existed at all, would have been just another broken young man without a clue how to get up off the floor.

Art is lunging forward without…

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