Inspired by Vonnegut

Inspired by Vonnegut

I love writing letters. I love reading letters more. Write one today, won’t you? And send it to … anyone. I can sense the joy of the recipient already.

So, what am I on about? Well, I came across this letter to a group of students at Xavier High School in 2006 from Kurt Vonnegut (posted at this incredible site: “Letters of Note”).

I wish I had been exposed to such genuine inspiration when I was young … well, I am still young, just a little older-young than I used to be. Anyway, it’s never too late to be inspired, is it?

An image of the full letter appears further down below, but here is what tugs at my muse the most:

Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Kurt Vonnegut, 05 Nov 2006

It’s nothing less than magical! Now, although I find the entire letter to be inspirational, what follows is my second favorite part of Kurt Vonnegut’s sage advice, and I challenge you to accept the assignment as well. I did, and it’s a grand feeling.

Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody…

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming

Kurt Vonnegut, 05 Nov 2006

There is a wonderful reading by Ian McKellan of Vonnegut’s letter – check it out here.

Finally, I respectfully urge that if you haven’t done so already, please read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and next consider his The Sirens of Titan – A Satiric Fantasy About Ourselves. A ‘complete’ biography of Kurt Vonnegut’s works can be found here.

Image courtesy of Xavier High School

If that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

Kurt Vonnegut, Always


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