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When Kurt Vonnegut Met Sammy Davis

Destiny: Race, TV and GE...
 
 
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Guest post by Destiny, first appeared on 10 Zen Monkeys.

When Kurt Vonnegut published Slaughterhouse Five , he was 47. He'd struggled for 20 years to earn a living as an American writer, working as a public relations man for General Electric, an advertising copy writer, and even a car salesman. "All I wanted to do was support my family," Vonnegut wrote in 1999. "I didn't think I would amount to a hill of beans."

But this forgotten period of his life also includes a haunting story about television, a World War II story, and Sammy Davis Jr.

With two children, "I needed more money than GE would pay me," Vonnegut wrote in his introduction to Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction. "I also wanted, if possible, more self-respect." Vonnegut hoped to spend his life writing short stories for magazines, and began tapping his experiences in World War II -- and in the world that followed. But in the 1950s the magazines publishing his fiction were exterminated by the ultimate juggernaut:

Destiny writes for 10 Zen Monkeys .

 
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