Cherish people who are eccentric. They see things differently.
Kurt Vonnegut authored several books that transfixed the reading public from 1959 to the posthumous publication of his last work in 2013, including The Sirens of Titan, Mother Night, Cat’s Cradle, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, Jailbird, and many others.
Here he is on video demonstrating his theory of the shape of stories. He originally developed the theory for his thesis as a student at the University of Chicago. They rejected it, but it is still alive and well:
Mr. Vonnegut died in 2007, but if you’ve ever been told to make your presentations more story-like but couldn’t figure out how to do it, give me a call. I’ll send you something that will help you, thanks to Mr. Vonnegut.
- A flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.
- Of course it is exhausting–having to reason all the time in a universe which wasn’t meant to be reasonable.
- Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math, that doesn’t mean we deserve to conquer the universe.
- True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
- Enjoy the little things in life–for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.
- We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.
- We are here on earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.
- We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
- 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.”
- Somebody gets into trouble, then gets out of it again. People love that story. They never get tired of it.
- If you are willing to do something that might not work, you’re closer to being an artist.
- The practice of art isn’t to make a living. It’s to make your soul grow.
- I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.
- Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
- So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.
- Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.”
- 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.
- I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.
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