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Vonnegutisms

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:07 pm
by PJS
Flavorwire -- which itself sounds like a Vonnegutism -- has collected twenty comments from KV, many of them having to do with writing or with writers. Typical:

“Jokes can be noble. Laughs are exactly as honorable as tears. Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward — and since I can start thinking and striving again that much sooner.”

http://flavorwire.com/228832/so-it-goes-our-20-favorite-vonnegut-isms

Note that these are all from KV's non-fiction.

ps

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:36 pm
by KB
Thanks for posting this. I like what he told his grand-kids: "Don't ask me. I just got here myself."

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 4:06 pm
by pigfender
So, I have just started reading my very first Kurt Vonnegut book.

It is called:
Slaughterhouse-Five
or
The Children's Crusade
A Duty-Dance With Death
by
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
A Fourth-Generation German-American
Now Living In Easy Circumstances
On Cape Cod
[And Smoking Too Much],
Who, As An American Infantry Scout
Hors De Combat,
As A Prisoner Of War,
Witnessed The Fire-Bombing
Of Dresden, Germany,
"The Florence Of The Elbe,"
A Long Time Ago,
And Survived To Tell The Tale.
This Is A Novel
Somewhat In The Telegraphic Schizophrenic
Manner Of Tales
Of The Planet Tralfamadore,
Where The Flying Saucers
Come From.
Peace.


I'm only on page 28, so don't tell me how it ends. Although I already have the impression that it won't matter in the slightest how it ends. I mean that in a good way. Sometimes it's the journey.

I found in my local library a large number* of Vonnegut books, all in the pristine condition of an unread volume. I figured they deserved to have someone put some creases in their spines so took this one out.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I've never actually heard someone else narrate a book while I was reading it before, but with every sentence in this thing I hear Mitch Hedberg's voice and phrasing clear as a bell in my head.

VERY WEIRD.

(in a cool way).

* - I understand that 'large number' is typically defined in mathematical terms as something over a billion. For the avoidance of doubt my local library does not have over a billion copies of Vonnegut books. Not on the shelves, anyway. Perhaps in a store room somewhere.

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 4:41 pm
by AmberV
You've got years of good reading ahead of you (or ten days of unravelling sanity). :)

Truth be told, the main reason Scrivener and Scapple's documentation PDFs lack an index is thanks to the stern admonitions of Claire Minton, once professional indexer:

"I'm always embarrassed when I see an index an author has made of his own work. It's a revealing thing ... a shameless exhibition...."
—Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle


That will remain my excuse. :)

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 4:49 pm
by Jaysen
AmberV wrote:
"I'm always embarrassed when I see an index an author has made of his own work. It's a revealing thing ... a shameless exhibition...."
—Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle


That will remain my excuse. :)

Shameless exhibition bothers you Ioa-iffer? Really?

As you can tell I still haven't gotten over that. :evil:

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 4:56 pm
by AmberV
Well I did call it an excuse. :mrgreen:

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 4:57 pm
by pigfender
Maybe the Ioa persona is the front. Nothing is what it seems on the interwebs.

Anyway. Now I know which book to read next: Cat's Cradle. May it provide me with a great many literary excuses for scope reduction.

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 5:00 pm
by Jaysen
With Ioa-iffer you never know. You never know...

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 8:30 pm
by Siren
I've never read any Vonnegut. Should I? And would I like it if I did? Or should I just carry on ploughing my way through everything that's ever been translated into English from Icelandic?

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 9:19 pm
by pigfender
It's a difficult question to answer. Especially for me, as I'm only 28 pages into my first.

It's kind of like saying you've never listened to any Bon Jovi.
You don't need to have listened to Bon Jovi to appreciate what the kids are turning out these days, but if you're going to be listening to music anyway you might as well load up "Living On A Prayer" on YouTube and check it out at least once.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5R_qnrezOZ8

Woah-woah!
W-w-woah-woah-woah!
W-w-Woah-were-woah!
W-w-Woah-weee-woah!

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 3:08 pm
by Siren
Thank you, pigfender. Over the years, I have toyed on and off with reading Slaughterhouse-Five, which is the Vonnegut book that I have most often seen recommended, and consistently decided that it looks like a traumatic read. I think I'll rummage around his other books to see if there is something I am more likely to enjoy. So far, Player Piano and Breakfast of Champions are looking possible...

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 3:53 pm
by pigfender
Slaughterhouse 5 is a small book with big print. From the vantage of page 56, I can say that it's not as traumatising in 2013 as it might have been in 1969. There is a casualness with the subject matter which gives it all a satirical edge, but it's a long way removed from anything you might see in the movies, in a computer game, or on CNN.

If you've read any of the Thrillers Icelandica, I'd be surprised if you'd come away damaged from the works of humanist and civil libertarian, KVjr.

Breakfast of Champions was one that drew my eye on the library shelf (I may have been hungry at the time).

This is *exactly* why I joined a library. I can afford to take gambles!
pigfender.com wrote:Books in Canada are expensive... So I recently joined the library. It cost less than $20 and I’ve already taken out about 30 books, so you don’t need to crack open a MS Excel spreadsheet to see the financial value. What I love about the library, though, is that it encourages me to read books I wouldn’t otherwise pick up in a bookshop: Really old classics of Sci Fi; Things I should have read as a teenager but never got round to; Genres I don’t normally read; Authors I’d not typically consider. Anything that makes it easier to read and broaden your perspective has got to be good for your writing, right?

Oh, and I’ve also been able to read – basically for free – more Carl Hiaasen novels than I’d ever be able to find in a bookstore.

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 7:28 pm
by Jot
Vonnegut changed my life. My all time personal favorites though would be Galápagos, Breakfast of Champions and a tie between Jailbird and Bluebeard. I can highly recommend all his stuff, though.

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 8:11 pm
by Siren
OK, Breakfast of Champions it is, then. It is heading Kindle-ward as I type this.

Re: Vonnegutisms

Posted: Fri May 31, 2013 3:15 pm
by Siren
Well, that was a good read, and an interesting one. Vey self-reflexive. Memorable "voice" (for want of a better word). Clever use of language and ideas. In a funny sort of way, something about the style or approach of Breakfast of Champions made me think of Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince (and I don't just mean the inclusion of drawings) -- but this is much more cynical, worldly and modern. I will certainly read more Vonnegut.