“Lonesome No More!” was a slogan Kurt Vonnegut used in his book Slapstick.
We understand that you can’t get rid of loneliness just by getting rid of ‘aloneness.’ Kurt Vonnegut knew this; as a World War II veteran who was captured by the Nazis and survived the Allied firebombing of Dresden, Germany, he suffered from PTSD and depression. He carried more than his share of loneliness throughout his lifetime, but that intense loneliness isn’t unique to people with PTSD or depression. It also affects people with other mental health concerns: anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or even just sadness when being bullied or feeling like people just don’t understand.
All humans suffer from loneliness at one time or another. Vonnegut’s mother-in-law fought her own battles with mental health, twice being institutionalized. And his mother committed suicide on Mother’s Day weekend right before Kurt was shipped off to the Battle of the Bulge in WWII.
Like Kurt, we all feel alone and we all are fighting it. However, knowing there is a community out there to help you, to make you feel wanted and alive, to ease your pain is something the Hoosier author believed in and wrote about throughout his life.
The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library plans to focus on mental health for all of its 2018 events and programming. We can’t stop mental suffering, but the people who suffer don’t have to fight it by themselves.
On average, KVML hosts more than 70 arts and humanities events each year – bringing writers, artists, musicians, and scholars to Indianapolis for public events. We will be presenting upwards of eight major programs for the 2018 calendar year. Many of these programs will be made available around the world via podcasts and/or videos on the Vonnegut Library website.
As we’ve done in the past, we will continue bringing programming to schools, libraries, universities, senior centers, and other venues speaking on Kurt Vonnegut’s life, work, and thoughts on how we all can be lonesome no more!
Planned 2018 Lonesome No More Programming
- January 26th – Kickoff reception (Indianapolis)
- Kick off the year of programming for Lonesome No More with remarks and humor, music, food and a story or two. We are hoping Lewis Black will be a part of this.
- April 13th– Night of Vonnegut (Indiana Roof Ballroom. 7 p. m.)
- Douglass Brinkley keynotes our annual gala with music by singer/musician Kate Lamont and her band.
- Late May – Panel Discussion for Mental Health Awareness Month (Indianapolis)
- Will include personal narratives stories related to to mental health crises. (National Alliance for Mental Illness leads this 90-minute program)
- July 16-18 (Chicago) 19 (Indianapolis)– Teaching Vonnegut Workshop
- Will be held in Chicago at University of Chicago, American Writer’s Museum and National Veterans Art Museum.
- Focus will include incorporating personal narrative or other arts and humanities practices to help with coping with life’s difficulties.
- The fourth day offers a bus tour of Vonnegut in Indianapolis for teachers. This program is made possible by a grant by Institute of Museum and Library Services.
- September 23-30th – Banned Books Week (Indianapolis)
- Nanny Vonnegut talks about her maternal grandmother’s stay at Central State Hospital
- Sex Day at Vonnegut Library
- Naked Lunch event
- And more
- November 8-10th – VonnegutFest (Indianapolis) •
- Veterans Day 2018 – World War I ends ceremony (partnering with Dr. Sondheim of University of Indianapolis)
- Reclaiming Armistice Day
- Release of Literary Journal
- Training on being a first responder to a mental health crisis
- Religious leaders speak on faith communities as a place to help with mental health challenges – Rabbi Dennis Sasso, Rev. John Denson, and more
- And more
Planning subject to change