Tag Archives: Vonnegut

That’s how come

“I am a monopolar depressive descended from monopolar depressives. That’s how come I write so good.”  ~Kurt Vonnegut

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Paging Dr. Schadenfreude

In Kurt Vonnegut’s book, TimeQuake, ©1997, there is a story-within-a-story.  Vonnegut’s alter-ego, Kilgore Trout, pens a short story about a psychiatrist who only allows his patients to talk about other people: The name of the shrink was the name of the story, too, which was “Dr. Schadenfreude.” This doctor had his patients lie on the …

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If this isn’t nice, what is?

Excerpted from my second-favorite Kurt Vonnegut book, TimeQuake, ©1997: “My uncle Alex Vonnegut, a Harvard-educated life insurance salesman who lived at 5033 North Pennsylvania Street, taught me something very important. He said that when things were really going well we should be sure to notice it. “He was talking about simple occasions, not great victories: …

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Enough

The poem below was written by Kurt Vonnegut to memorialize his friend Joseph Heller: JOE HELLER by Kurt Vonnegut (via) True story, Word of Honor: Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer now dead, and I were at a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island. I said, “Joe, how does it make you …

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2

“As I see it, there isn’t so much to do. Just be ordinary:  put on your robes, eat your food, and pass the time doing nothing.”  ~Linji Yixuan • “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”  ~Kurt Vonnegut

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Pretenses

“It is the person you imagine yourself to be that suffers, not You.”  ~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj • “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”  ~Kurt Vonnegut, in Mother Night

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Saint Abbie Hoffman

In this excerpt from Fates Worse Than Death, copyright 1991, Kurt Vonnegut talks about one of my personal heroes, Abbie Hoffman: I mentioned Abbie Hoffman in that piece about books as mantras for meditation. I realize that most people nowadays don’t know who he was or what he did. He was a clowning genius, having …

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Sinners and

“I can be more prompt than the Roman Catholic Church in announcing who is a saint, since I do not require courtroom-style proofs that so-and-so was on at least three occasions capable of magic with the help of God. It is enough for me if a person (like a good anthropologist) easily finds all races …

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Oaths

In 1985, Kurt Vonnegut suggested in a speech at MIT that all graduates should make the following oath, based on the Hippocratic Oath: “The regimen I adopt shall be for the benefit of all life on this planet, according to my own ability and judgement, and not for its hurt or for any wrong. I …

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Swap

Excerpted from Fates Worse Than Death by Kurt Vonnegut, ©1991: I was willing to believe back in the 1960s that deep meditation as practiced in India might be a way to achieve happiness and wisdom which had not been previously available to people of European and African stock. The Beatles also believed this for a …

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Listen:

  This is my favorite line in all of literature. I remember the first time I read it:  I smiled from ear to ear. I knew this was going to be different from everything I had ever read before. I still smile ever time I see it.

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“I like him.”

Excerpt from Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut, © 1982: Haitians speak Creole, a French dialect which has only a present tense. I have lived in Haiti with my brother for the past six months, so I can speak it some. Felix and I are innkeepers now. We have bought the Grand Hotel Oloffson, a gingerbread …

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