Writing and Kurt Vonnegut

danceEvery winter I hold an artist E-Circle that follows one of Julia Cameron’s books (Artist Way). This year’s book is “Walking the World.” We exchange weekly e-mails on the chapter readings and spotlight our individual works-in-progress; mostly it helps to share writing struggles and triumphs. Thanks to all who joined up. Speaking of triumphs, congratulations to member, Elizabeth Copeland, whose novella won the Ken Klonsy novella contest and will be published by Quattro books in the fall of 2014. Wonderful news! And thanks too to Kathleen who shared this inspiring letter from Kurt Vonnegut below that she found on-line:

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood…:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances anymore because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: 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.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: 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, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

He’s a wise man!
Dancing home…
Kathy-Diane

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