readwriterock (readwriterock) wrote,

So it goes.

While perusing the links coming through my Bloglines account today, I came upon this essay by Kurt Vonnegut called "How to Write with Style":

It is one of the coolest, wisest things I've read in a while. I think you all should go read it.

I also thought that as a follow-up, I would share my favorite Vonnegut story (about Vonnegut, not by Vonnegut), but then I realized I had two, so here they are:

1) When I was a senior in high school, one of the the things I loved most in the universe was Pearl Jam. So imagine my delight when I heard they were coming to north central Texas on tour - first to Denton, which is home to the University of North Texas, where I went on to get my MLS, and then to Moody Coliseum at SMU in Dallas, where I went on to graduate from high school. I got tickets to both shows. I went to the Denton show with one of my dearest friends and a boy I had a huge crush on who would go on to become my (slightly ill-advised) boyfriend. While driving to Denton today strikes me as more of an annoyance than anything else (it's just so faaaaar...) that night, it was magical. My crush drove us up in his mom's Cadillac (and if I fibbed to my parents about whether someone else's parent was going to be accompanying us in said Cadillac, well, I came clean about it later), and the concert was just fantastic, and at one point Eddie Vedder told us it was Kurt Vonnegut's birthday and produced a handheld tape-recorder. And I, along with several thousand other people, sang "Happy Birthday" to Kurt Vonnegut.

2) I had bad luck with creative writing classes in college. I dropped the first one I took after two weeks (I'll spare you the gory details), and the second one wasn't much better (in fairness, I went on to take a writing workshop at that school that turned out to be one of my best and most formative experiences as a writer, but I didn't know that at the time). Anyway, in this unfortunate writing class, I had a friend named Lisa who was a reporter for the student paper. One day, we were talking about her covering a speech Vonnegut gave at the university for the paper (yes, Vonnegut came to my school and I didn't go see him speak. Why, you ask? Because sometimes, I am an idiot), and she told me that he had said one of the biggest problems with university creative writing programs was that the teachers were always comparing students to the great writers of the canon rather than letting them have their own voices, which made sense to me. It couldn't have been 15 minutes into class that day when our teacher, in discussing another student's work said, "This kind of reminds me of something that Chekhov was known for", at which point Lisa and I both burst out laughing and couldn't stop. It might have been my favorite day in the whole class.

So, yeah. Vonnegut is cool.
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