Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I went digging for Kurt Vonnegut quotes a few nights ago. I'm directing a theatrical version of "Welcome to the Monkey House" (which adapts four of the stories from that collection) and was hoping I might find something catchy to use on some teaser posters.

The thing about quotes -- and about quotable writers in general, I suppose -- is that they somehow manage to say something important, something beautiful, something significant, in only a handful of words.

Reading through pages and pages of stuff that had been pulled from his work (much of it overlapping things that I had already seen on earlier pages) I came to the conclusion that Vonnegut has within him the ability to say very simple, very beautiful things.

I love simple, beautiful writing.

People have talked about dancers, like Fred Astair, and how once you reach a certain level of skill, the beautiful thing is in making it look easy. I think it's like with writers too. That, at a certain point, they have ability to make a simple turn of phrase seem ridiculously simple. But I'm sure it didn't come out of them quite as easily.

After reading Vonnegut quotes for about an hour, I found myself thinking of my own work, and how, most of the time, it's wretched and clunky and heavy-handed, and not at all simple and beautiful. Which is kind of a disappointment. But hardly one worth giving up the notion of writing. I'm sure, with the idea in my head, it's something that I can strive to improve.

In fact, I discovered yesterday, I may not even have to strive to accomplish it. I read a little something that I wrote recently which were a series of ridiculously short and -- quote often -- somewhat beautiful things in response to a series of questions posted at another blog (which remains unlinked, as I'm not sure the person in question would like the flood of people I'm sure would come from this site to hers -- and by flood I mean two or three).

It was nice to see something from my head that was simple and somewhat beautiful. Nice to know that achieving that sort of thing isn't just a dream or a fantasy, that it might, in fact, occur.

Writing has been a big part of my life for, well, most of my life now. I don't do it anywhere near as much as I should, would love to either have the drive or the opportunity to do more of it. But, even though I seem to go through phases of massive output then phases with little of anything, I don't think I could entirely purge it from my life. And if I'm not going to get rid of it, it's nice to think that, at the very least, I can continue to improve, day by day, month by month, year by year.

Very nice indeed.


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