Thursday, May 15, 2014

Four Kurt Vonnegut Faves


Kurt Vonnegut is one of my most favorite authors. The book I most enjoy is Cat's Cradle, in which he writes:
         "I'm not a drug salesman. I'm a writer."
         "What makes you think a writer is not a drug salesman?"

The following quote is from Man Without A Country.

“Here is a lesson in creative writing.

First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.

And I realize some of you may be having trouble deciding whether I am kidding or not. So from now on I will tell you when I'm kidding.

For instance, join the National Guard or the Marines and teach democracy. I'm kidding.

We are about to be attacked by Al Qaeda. Wave flags if you have them. That always seems to scare them away. I'm kidding.

If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” 
― Kurt VonnegutA Man Without a Country

And perhaps my favorite is his one sentence:

"The insane, on occasion, are not without their charms."

With my mental illness woes, I am particularly fond of that last one. He makes it possible for me to laugh at circumstances. His books are full of observations on the human condition, on all our shortcomings. yet in his books there are people who are good, who are untouched by the outrageousness that is humankind.

Now, I am going to tell stories and write a poem to a friend because I will get an enormous reward. I will have created something.


  1. Those are some really powerful words. Thank you for sharing them :)

    1. You're quite welcome. I feel that he really was a wise man. Some want to dismiss his writing as frivolous and I feel he was exactly the opposite.