September 30, 2015

Wednesday Writing Wisdom (27) Kurt Vonnegut





“Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.”



Kurt Vonnegut
 (1922 - 2007)
 Curious facts about
 Though notoriously pessimistic, Kurt Vonnegut’s first wife was his elementary school sweetheart. Vonnegut and Jane Cox met when they were both in kindergarten at a private school in Indianapolis called the Orchard School.

Kurt Vonnegut was allegedly challenged to a duel by Verlin Cassill, a graduate and former teacher at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Cassill proposed the duel take place on North Linn Street in Iowa City, in front of the Hamburg Inn.

 Kurt Vonnegut majored in chemistry, biology, and anthropology in turn but he never finished any of those degrees. During a speech made to students at Cornell, Vonnegut told the assembly if they truly wished to anger their parents, they should pursue the arts.



His graduate thesis was rejected. Enrolled at the University of Chicago in pursuit of a master's in anthropology, Vonnegut submitted a thesis on the similarities between cubist painters and the leaders of Native American uprisings in the 19th century. Kind of a weird topic – and the university thought so, too, because they rejected it as unprofessional. Decades later, the university awarded him a degree, citing his novel Cat's Cradle as his thesis (even though he didn't submit it as such). 



He once gave grades to all his novels. Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle got A-pluses, while Happy Birthday, Wanda June got a dismal D. None of his books received a failing grade, but the book in which he offered the marks, Palm Sunday, received a C. He noted that he wasn't grading his books in comparison to other authors, but just in relation to each other.

 
His graduate thesis was rejected. It's not unusual to hear a story about a great luminary who failed before he or she succeeded, and Vonnegut is one of them. Enrolled at the University of Chicago in pursuit of a master's in anthropology, Vonnegut submitted a thesis on the similarities between cubist painters and the leaders of Native American uprisings in the 19th century. OK, yes, kind of a weird topic – and the university thought so, too, because they rejected it as unprofessional. Decades later, the university awarded him a degree, citing his novel Cat's Cradle as his thesis (even though he didn't submit it as such). - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/news/legends-and-legacies/10-facts-about-kurt-vonnegut/3162/#sthash.8mfdyyZn.dpuf
His graduate thesis was rejected. It's not unusual to hear a story about a great luminary who failed before he or she succeeded, and Vonnegut is one of them. Enrolled at the University of Chicago in pursuit of a master's in anthropology, Vonnegut submitted a thesis on the similarities between cubist painters and the leaders of Native American uprisings in the 19th century. OK, yes, kind of a weird topic – and the university thought so, too, because they rejected it as unprofessional. Decades later, the university awarded him a degree, citing his novel Cat's Cradle as his thesis (even though he didn't submit it as such). - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/news/legends-and-legacies/10-facts-about-kurt-vonnegut/3162/#sthash.8mfdyyZn.dpuf

4 comments:

  1. I love how he met his wife as a young child--that's really sweet. Most genre publishers agree with his anti semi colon mandate;) He was with us until 2007, remarkable.

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    1. A complex "character". With a wide range of interests.I had no idea he was attracted by the scientific world. As a rule, authors are more into the humanistic part.
      Thank you for dropping by, Flossie!

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  2. Love his quote. Semi-colons are the bane of my existence. I'm so glad that most times editors don't want anything to do with them. He sounds like a complex man but I fully understand his attraction to science. It's a weird balance, science and art, but I've loved both since I was a child. :)

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    1. I loved his idea to rate his own novels by comparing them to each other. Quite interesting and original.
      Thank you for checking the post today, Mae!

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