Tag: literature/Archives

Nice Nice Very Vonnegut

WFMUs blog-post of Kurt Vonnegut MP3s reminded me the SoCal prog-rock pop band, Ambrosia, put Kurt’s couplet from Cat’s Cradle to music (circa 1975)– “Nice, Nice, Very Nice”:

Here’s one of the mp3s posted by WFMU, from Ice-9 Ballads by Dave Soldier w/ Kurt Vonnegut Jr , “Annihilation Life”:

(BTW, Dave Soldier is of the Thai Elephant Orchestra and People’s Choice Music projects.)

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr 1922-2007

Kurt Vonnegut has become unstuck in time:

Above is Part 1 of a documentary by Gottfried Geist, here’s parts: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. And John Hockenberry’s interview with him (In Second Life cyberspace) for the radio series The Infinite Mind.Eight rules for writing fiction (from Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons 1999), 9-10):

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

In These Times interview: Kurt Vonnegut vs. the !&#*!@.
In These Times article: Cold Turkey by Kurt Vonnegut.

“How nice–to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.”
–Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

See the Other Side

Good story in the March 12 NewYorker: “See the Other Side” by Tatyana Tolstaya. Actually not just a good story, it’s a great one-especially considering how short it is. The first paragraph or so you think probably it’s just another one of those boring New Yorker stories about nothing. But her train picks up speed mighty quick, and at the end she freaking nails it. Never read anything quite like it. Raymond the Russian says one of the best -known writers in Russia right now. And yeah, she’s related to Leo Tolstoy.

Once you read that Tolstaya story, re-read it asking “how the fuck does she do it?” It’s honest, of course. But technically it has to do with repetition, that is, repetition-with-variations., and with each repetition a deepening echo. This is a technique more common in music and poetry than prose. I’m thinking it might work in radio too. Imagine the story as a radio piece.

“The tomb of Dante, exiled from his native Florence. The tomb of Theodorich. The mausoleum of Galla Placidia, sister of Flavius Honorius, the very man who made Ravenna the capital of the Western Empire. Fifteen centuries passed. Everything changed. Dust gathered; the mosaics crumbled. What was once important is now unimportant; what once excited has vanished in the sands. The sea itself has receded, and where merry green waves once splashed there are wastelands, vineyards, silence.” –Tatyana Tolstaya

Jim Harrison interview- KUER

Today on KUER: Jim Harrison – Returning to Earth. Literary legend Jim Harrison has been capturing beauty and a zest for life with his poems, novels and essays for more than 40 years. He’s written about the spiritual pleasures of the natural world and the physical pleasures of the body in works like Saving Daylight, Legends of the Fall, and The Raw and the Cooked. Jim Harrison has recently published his ninth novel Returning to Earth, and in it looks from the good life to the good death. He is in Utah, and Thursday, RadioWest will air a conversation between Harrison and independent radio producer Scott Carrier.

MP3 of the hour now online.

Also check our Weekend America story on Harrison.