Thursday, November 15, 2012

KV Wisdom - Inspiration Thursday

I have lots of favored authors.  I so enjoy books and so enjoy reading and learning that this is just bound to be the case.  Working in a library really doesn't help narrow it down either.  If anything its been the opposite.  There are so many gifted authors out there that I could never list all those who have helped shape and change me and my thoughts and my perspective of the world I live in.  But, there is one man who I know to be my most favorite--the one that jumps to the very top of the list without any hesitation on my part--the late, great Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.  I've read everything I could get my hands on by him and only once has his writing made me think "I don't know...that was only okay..."   (And even that book I feel I should read again because maybe I misjudged it as a 16 year old) It is smart, sometimes sharp, almost always chuckle-inducing satire that really resonates with me. 

“And 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.”

This afternoon, as the sunshine is melting the snow and allowing me to walk about out of doors without a coat on--in November, I had to pause and say to myself "If this isn't nice I don't know what is."  This is a habit that Matt and I share thanks to Kurt and his uncle who originally gave him the advice.  There is so much to be thankful for--even on a seemingly bad day--that I think it is very important that we take the time to note it.   

And related to that--we should be kind.  Thankful and kind.  Kurt has a quote about that, too.  (Well, actually one of the characters he created said this one, not Kurt himself.)

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind."

4 comments:

  1. I really enjoy KV too, my favorite is The Slaughter House 5.

    Good words to live by.

    Bean

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    1. Oh, man....how to pick my favorite.... Impossible!

      Slaughterhouse Five is GREAT and was the very first Vonnegut book I read.

      I'd also rank Breakfast of Champions, Galapagos, Slapstick, and A Man Without a Country at the top of my list...being unable to tell which would be at the apex.

      My favorite short story is The Euphio Question from Welcome to the Monkey House. Harrison Bergeron holds a special place for me though because that was my very, very first exposure to KV--although I wouldn't know it until years and years later. We were read most of the story in English class in 7th grade and asked to write our own ending to the tale. My teacher really liked my ending and I got an A. I really liked the story we got to finish and so was rather unsurprised later to find out it was by my dear KV.

      When I was in Europe I only brought two books in English and I must have read Welcome to the Monkey House fifty times. I read it until the cover fell off.

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  2. Thanks, I needed that. I am enduring and expected to endure a lot of unkindness right now. I go to a church dinner every Thursday night. One woman is waging a one-man war to discredit and slander me. No one in the church cares, and I am supposed to be kind to her because she is retarded. Yet, she spreads the "news" all over the county that I am sleeping with a married man whose wife is helpless in a nursing home.

    I tried to talk to her about it and she started shrilly doing the basketball "flop." and a lady in the church told me to leave her alone and shut up and sit down!

    A man sexually harasses the women and the church says these people don't know how to talk to people like I, an educated person, knows.

    A whole table of women bully me and no one in the church group notices it, not even when I point it out. The man and I and another friend do not sit with them, so they now will harass me and spread lies because of their jealousy.

    So, I am told to be kind. I quit going tonight. Now, I can be kind to me since the Christians, one and all, turn away from problems. I am tired of the onus being placed on me to "be kind" and ignore them.

    Tonight, I am being kind to me! The Christians don't seem to be kind at all.

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    1. It was actually something I thought I needed to remember because during a recent dispute I could have been kinder. I was right and that led me to be sharper and more sarcastic than I could have been...which even though I was right was not the high road I could have taken.

      I'm sorry your community folks have been testing your kindness. Its hard to be kind when you don't feel that others are, but I still think being kind is the right thing to do. Hopefully some distance will do you all good.

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!