Kurt Vonnegut was an American writer best known for works like “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Breakfast of Champions” and “Cat’s Cradle.” He had the uncanny ability to blend together satire with his own meandering thoughts on politics, writing, art, religion and humanity. At the time of his death, The New York Times referred to him as, “the counterculture’s novelist.”
Many things come to mind upon hearing Vonnegut’s name:
1. While on leave from World War II, he discovered his mother had committed suicide with sleeping pills, on Mother’s Day.
2. He attended graduate school at the University of Chicago for anthropology and was deemed to be a “poor” student. His first thesis on similarities between cubist painters and leaders of late 19th Century Native American Uprisings was rejected for being unprofessional.
3. He raised seven children, four of whom he adopted from his sister after she died from cancer (only two days after her husband was killed when his commuter train ran off the Newark Bay Bridge).
4. During his brief stint at Sports Illustrated, after getting writer’s block on an assignment about a racehorse that jumped a fence in an attempt to run away, Vonnegut simply typed, “The horse jumped over the f*cking fence,” and left.
The following quotes will provide insight into the mind of this brilliant man. In reading them, you will perhaps glean insight into your mind as well. So, without further ado, check out these 20 pearls of wisdom from Kurt Vonnegut.
1. “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge, you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.”
2. “It is just an illusion here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.”
3. “Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.”
4. “I think it can be tremendously refreshing if a creator of literature has something on his mind other than the history of literature so far. Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak.”
5. “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
6. “The insane, on occasion, are not without their charms.”
7. “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies — "God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
8. “The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon.”
9. “That is the first thing I know for sure: (1.) If the questions don't make sense, neither will the answers.”
10. “Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be.”
11. “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”
12. “We are what we imagine ourselves to be.”
13. “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”
14. “Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”
15. “Many people need desperately to receive this message: 'I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.’”
16. “Until you die… it's all life.”
17. “A book is an arrangement of twenty-six phonetic symbols, ten numerals, and about eight punctuation marks, and people can cast their eyes over these and envision the eruption of Mount Vesuvius or the Battle of Waterloo.”
18. “To whom it may concern: It is springtime. It is late afternoon.”
19. “What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
20. “In the water I am beautiful.”
If you’re a Vonnegut fan as well, leave a comment with your favorite quote — it may brighten someone’s day or spark inspiration.
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