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Friday, November 11, 2011

How to Answer Kurt-ly

Flavorwire has a post with their 20 favorite quotes from Kurt Vonnegut, in celebration of his first authorized biography (And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: a Life, by Charles J. Shields), coming out today.

Here's a sampling:

“I had a friend who was a heavy drinker. If somebody asked him if he’d been drunk the night before, he would always answer offhandedly, ‘Oh, I imagine.’ I’ve always liked that answer. It acknowledges life as a dream.” — a “composite self-interview” in The Paris Review, 1977

“I don’t know about you, but I practice a disorganized religion. I belong to an unholy disorder. We call ourselves ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment.’” — A Man Without a Country, 2005

“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.” — A Man Without a Country, 2005

“When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.” — quoted in “Kurt Vonnegut: In His Own Words,” London Times Online, 2007

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” — “Knowing What’s Nice,” In These Times, 2003

I've quote this last one on this blog before, but it's still a good idea. Cheers.


Chris said...

Thanks for the reminder that I must return to Vonnegut's novels. Without a doubt, stumbling onto my uncle's copy of Breakfast of Champions was the defining moment of my reading career. Vonnegut led me to Robbins and Pynchon and Elkin and Gaddis and Miller and Mailer and Roth and literature.

Jessica Goodfellow said...

What a great story, Chris. My introduction to Vonnegut was through a high school reading assignment. And like you, I was led to other great authors through him. It's his birthday today, by the way!