Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

473 Inspiring Quotes by Kurt Vonnegut

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Kurt Vonnegut.

Wikipedia Summary for Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American writer. In a career spanning over 50 years, he published 14 novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five nonfiction works, with further collections being published after his death.

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Vonnegut attended Cornell University but withdrew in January 1943 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. As part of his training, he studied mechanical engineering at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) and the University of Tennessee. He was then deployed to Europe to fight in World War II and was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. He was interned in Dresden, where he survived the Allied bombing of the city in a meat locker of the slaughterhouse where he was imprisoned. After the war, he married Jane Marie Cox, with whom he had three children. He adopted his nephews after his sister died of cancer and her husband was killed in a train accident. He and his wife both attended the University of Chicago, while he worked as a night reporter for the City News Bureau.

Vonnegut published his first novel, Player Piano, in 1952. The novel was reviewed positively but was not commercially successful at the time. In the nearly 20 years that followed, he published several novels that were well regarded, two of which (The Sirens of Titan [1959] and Cat's Cradle [1963]) were nominated for the Hugo Award for best novel. He published a short story collection titled Welcome to the Monkey House in 1968. His breakthrough was his commercially and critically successful sixth novel, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). The book's anti-war sentiment resonated with its readers amidst the ongoing Vietnam War and its reviews were generally positive. After its release, Slaughterhouse-Five went to the top of The New York Times Best Seller list, thrusting Vonnegut into fame. He was invited to give speeches, lectures, and commencement addresses around the country, and received many awards and honors.

Later in his career, Vonnegut published several autobiographical essays and short-story collections such as Fates Worse Than Death (1991) and A Man Without a Country (2005). After his death, he was hailed as one of the most important contemporary writers and a dark humor commentator on American society. His son Mark published a compilation of his unpublished works, titled Armageddon in Retrospect, in 2008. In 2017, Seven Stories Press published Complete Stories, a collection of Vonnegut's short fiction including five previously unpublished stories. Complete Stories was collected and introduced by Vonnegut friends and scholars Jerome Klinkowitz and Dan Wakefield. Numerous scholarly works have examined Vonnegut's writing and humor.

None

You can't teach people to write well. Writing well is something God lets you do or declines to let you do.

--Kurt Vonnegut


yellow green leaf

She hated people who thought too much. At that moment, she struck me as an appropriate representative for almost all mankind.

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow flower in green grass field

Any scientist who can't explain to an eight-year-old what he is doing is a charlatan.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette photo of mountain during nighttime

And so it goes.

--Kurt Vonnegut

houses and trees during nighttime

I've got at least one tiny corner of the universe I can make just the way I want it.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person holding gray leaf

My definition of a man's man is a man who knows gun safety, and we all did.

--Kurt Vonnegut


red tulip in bloom close up photo

I really wonder what gives us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white Starbuck plastic cup on brown fabric armchair

Don't worry about your father. He's a perfectly contented, self-sufficient zombie.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue

I thought scientists were going to find out exactly how everything worked, and then make it work better.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white cow eating green grass

Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.

--Kurt Vonnegut

man playing soccer during daytime

Beer, of course, is actually a depressant, but poor people will never stop hoping otherwise.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown wallpaper

You're learning that you do not inhabit a solid, reliable social structure -- that the older people around you are worried, moody, goofy human beings who themselves were little kids only a few days ago.

--Kurt Vonnegut


white wooden hut during daytime

The hopes and fears of all our years are here with us tonight.

--Kurt Vonnegut

photography of burning camp fire

You know what truth is? ... It's some crazy thing my neighbor believes. If I want to make friends with him, I ask him what he believes. He tells me, and I say, "Yeah, yeah -- ain't it the truth?

--Kurt Vonnegut

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

There is no shortage of wonderful writers. What we lack is a dependable mass of readers.

--Kurt Vonnegut

concert photos

The slaves were simply turned loose without any property. They were easily recognizable. They were black. They were suddenly free to go exploring.

--Kurt Vonnegut

selective focus photo of iceberg on large body of water at winter

Sculptors feel that somebody else is using their hands, that they couldn't possibly be doing this.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown and white bird on tree branch

I'd rather have written "Cheers" than anything I've written.

--Kurt Vonnegut

photo of gray elephant on grass

If people think nature is their friend then they sure don't need an enemy.

--Kurt Vonnegut

fire near trees

Each one of us has to be what he or she is.

--Kurt Vonnegut



woman signing on white printer paper beside woman about to touch the documents

The surface of Earth heaved and seethed in fecund restlessness. Earth was most fertile where the most death was.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silver bell alarm clock

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but the living room in your fortified compound.

--Kurt Vonnegut

group of camels walking on desert lake at daytime

Reading a novel, War and Peace for example, is no Catnap. Because a novel is so long, reading one is like being married forever to somebody nobody knows or cares about.

--Kurt Vonnegut

backdrop

I saw the destruction of Dresden. I saw the city before and then came out of an air-raid shelter and saw it afterward, and certainly one response was laughter. God knows, that's the soul seeking some relief.

--Kurt Vonnegut

raging waves through shores

No one can amount to a damn in the arts if he becomes sweetly reasonable, seeing all sides of a picture, forgiving all sins.

--Kurt Vonnegut

close-up photography of heart shaped fairy lite on brown sand

And somebody might now want to ask me, "Can't you ever be serious?" The answer is, "No."

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue sky with white clouds

Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette of person kicking on mid air

I am a very bad scientist. I will do anything to make a human being feel better, even if it's unscientific. No scientist worthy of the name could say such a thing.

--Kurt Vonnegut

forest trees photograph

Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.

--Kurt Vonnegut

bird on pier

One might be led to suspect that there were all sorts of things going on in the universe which he or she did not thoroughly understand.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green and white painted wall

Anyone unable to understand how useful religion can be founded on lies will not understand this book either.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white pendant lamp

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow rose flower

The New York Daily News suggested that my biggest war crime was not killing myself like a gentleman. Presumably Hitler was a gentleman.

--Kurt Vonnegut

woman in black tank top

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.

--Kurt Vonnegut

flock of birds flying under blue sky during daytime

To whom it may concern: It is springtime. It is late afternoon.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown butterfly perched on flower

How nice -- to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.

--Kurt Vonnegut

body of water during daytime

The youngest child in any family is always a jokemaker, because a joke is the only way he can enter into an adult conversation.

--Kurt Vonnegut

sunset

I was taught that the human brain was the crowning glory of evolution so far, but I think it's a very poor scheme for survival.

--Kurt Vonnegut

donkey

Be fruitful, and multiply.

--Kurt Vonnegut

purple

One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown textile in close up image

I think it can be tremendously refreshing if a creator of literature has something on his mind other than the history of literature so far. Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak.

--Kurt Vonnegut

five woman standing on seashore

When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Longer Version:

When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away -- even if it's only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.


foggy mountains

I left the Middle West for Schenectady because the General Electric Company offered me a more congenial, better paying job than did anyone else.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Longer Version:

You have never seen greatness in a Presidency; I have. It was a rich kid who you would think had every reason to be a horse's ass -- Franklin Roosevelt. He was humane and wise and resourceful. He was called a traitor to his class. With George Bush, that charge would never stick.


couple sitting near trees during golden hour

Educate yourself, welcome life's messiness, read Chekhov, avoid becoming an architect at all costs.

--Kurt Vonnegut

people walking on hallway

We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.

--Kurt Vonnegut

pink

I would have had him hanged from the yardarm, hick--if somebody hadn't stolen the, hick, yardarm, hick. At dawn, hick--if somebody hadn't stolen the dawn.

--Kurt Vonnegut

man in orange jacket and black pants doing snow ski during daytime

A committee of three can accomplish much if two don't show up.

--Kurt Vonnegut


brown tree branch during daytime

What he meant, of course, was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers. I believe that, too. And even if wars didn't keep coming like glaciers, there would still be plain old death.

--Kurt Vonnegut

dew drops on glass panel

I wanted all things to seem to make some sense, So we could all be happy, yes, instead of tense. And I made up lies, so they all fit nice, and I made this sad world a paradise.

--Kurt Vonnegut


Clear blue ocean washing on the sandy shore on a clear day in Cancún

There is a strong feeling in the Middle West that the artist is not pulling his own weight no matter how hard he may work, that the other people are doing the real stuff.

--Kurt Vonnegut

time lapse photography of fire

There is love enough in this world for everybody, if people will just look.

--Kurt Vonnegut

man standing on cliff under white sky

Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.

--Kurt Vonnegut

photo of white and brown bricked wall during daytime

This much I knew and know: I was making myself hideously uncomfortable by not narrowing my attention to details of life which were immediately important, and by refusing to believe what my neighbors believed.

--Kurt Vonnegut


black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

Society is more concerned with material possessions than it is with the true love and compassion of another human being.

--Kurt Vonnegut


sea during daytime

Has any psychological experiment yielded a more delightful suggestion than this one: that there is a part of the mind without ambition or information, which nonetheless is expert on what is beautiful?

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue textile on brown wooden table

In case nobody has told you," she said, "this is the United States of America, where nobody has a right to rely on anybody else -- where everybody learns to make his or her own way.

--Kurt Vonnegut


black wooden louver door window

We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green trees under white sky during daytime

Terry Southern is the illegitimate son of Mack Sennett and Edna Saint Vincent Millay.

--Kurt Vonnegut

shallow focus photography of orange flower

Somebody gets into trouble, then gets out of it again. People love that story. They never get tired of it.

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow flowers blooming at field

My special situation was that I was the son and grandson of architects. And so I saw building. We were building the city, and that was exciting.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white and blue building under clear sky

Aside from battles, the history of nations seemed to consist of nothing but powerless old poops like myself, heavily medicated and vaguely beloved in the long ago, coming to kiss the boots of young psychopaths.

--Kurt Vonnegut

snow covered pine trees

Well, we are terribly divided politically, yes, and, you know, I don't mean to intimidate you and your listeners but I have a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue and white striped textile

Thinking doesn't seem to help very much. The human brain is too high-powered to have many practical uses in this particular universe.

--Kurt Vonnegut


red and white led lighted heart decor

One thing I hate about school committees today is that they cut arts programs out of the curriculum because they say the arts aren't a way to make a living.

--Kurt Vonnegut


blooming pink flower

Do I resent rich people? No. The best or worst I can do is notice them. I agree with the great Socialist writer George Orwell, who felt that rich people were poor people with money.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

Sometimes I think it is a great mistake to have matter that can think and feel. It complains so.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette of person wearing cowboy hat during sunset

The gun made a ripping sound like the opening of a zipper on the fly of God Almighty.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person sleeping on gray gang chair

The people who taught really knew their stuff. My chemistry teacher, Frank Wade, was actually a chemist. I was so lucky in a number of ways.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown rock formation on body of water during daytime

Take care of the people, and God Almighty will take care of Himself.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white printer paper on brown wooden table

The two real political parties in America are the Winners and the Losers. The people don't acknowledge this. They claim membership in two imaginary parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, instead.

--Kurt Vonnegut

turned on desk lamp beside pile of books

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

--Kurt Vonnegut


sea during daytime

Ideas on earth were badges of friendship or enimity. Their content did not matter. Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enimity.

--Kurt Vonnegut

orange leaves tree

The mountebank told them that God was surely trying to kill them, possibly because He was through with them, and that they should have the good manners to die. This, as you can see, they did.

--Kurt Vonnegut

island during daytime

We didn't belong anywhere in particular any more. We were interchangeable parts in the American machine.

--Kurt Vonnegut


closeup photo of lounger chairs and beach umbrellas

Some persons seem to like you, and others seem to hate you, and you must wonder why. They are simply liking machines and hating machines.

--Kurt Vonnegut






Vincent Van Gogh self portrait painting on wall

I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow sunflower field under blue sky during daytime

Vietnam was a country where America was trying to make people stop being communists by dropping things on them from airplanes.

--Kurt Vonnegut

round black clock on linen

The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.

--Kurt Vonnegut

multicolored heart LED light on wall

This country is being managed to death, being public related to death.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette photography of trees and sky

Make war not on terrorism but on ignorance, on sickness and on environmental degradation.

--Kurt Vonnegut


person holding sunflower

How embarrassing to be human.

--Kurt Vonnegut

high-angle photography of mountain at sunset

As a matter of social class Ku Klux Klan would have been regarded as white trash.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Clear blue ocean washing on the sandy shore on a clear day in Cancún

There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.

--Kurt Vonnegut

five woman standing on seashore

The unity in every second of all time and all wandering mankind, all wandering womankind, all wandering children.

--Kurt Vonnegut




wall

It may be that the most striking thing about members of my literary generation in retrospect will be that we were allowed to say absolutely anything without fear of punishment.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue and white water waves

I am simply impressed by the unexpected insights which shower down on me when my job is to imagine, as contrasted with the woodenly familiar ideas which clutter my desk when my job is to tell the truth.

--Kurt Vonnegut


black mountain under blue sky during night time

What made marriage so difficult back then was yet again that instigator of so many other sorts of heartbreak: the oversize brain.

--Kurt Vonnegut

landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

Be patient. Your future will come to you and lie down at your feet like a dog who knows and loves you no matter what you are.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown houses in front of hill under starry night

When things go well for days on end, it is an hilarious accident.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown leaf on asphalt road

The big show is inside my head.

--Kurt Vonnegut


person doing yoga exercises

Be patient, Ophelia.
Love,
Hamlet.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green and white painted wall

Homo Americanus is going to go on speaking and writing the way he always has, no matter what dictionary he owns.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown and white wooden star print board

What war has always been is a puberty ceremony.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Longer Version:

What war has always been is a puberty ceremony. It's a very rough one, but you went away a boy and came back a man, maybe with an eye missing or whatever but godammit you were a man and people had to call you a man thereafter.


white flowers

There is no good reason good can't triumph over evil, if only angels will get organized along the lines of the mafia.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown and gray brick wall

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow flower

Life, by definition, is never still.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Painting of Stonehenge

Plato, by the way, wanted to banish all poets from his proposed Utopia because they were liars. The truth was that Plato knew philosophers couldn't compete successfully with poets.

--Kurt Vonnegut

statue of liberty new york city

Rome wasn't built in a day.

--Kurt Vonnegut


body of water surrounded with plants under cloudy sky

If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you're a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.

--Kurt Vonnegut

a couple holding hands with a wedding ring visible

If you want to break the rules of grammar, first learn the rules of grammar.

--Kurt Vonnegut

pink flowers in tilt shift lens

It is harder to be unhappy when you are eating.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette of trees during sunset

Scientific truth was going to make us so happy and comfortable. What actually happened when I was twenty-one was that we dropped scientific truth on Hiroshima.

--Kurt Vonnegut

red and pink flowers

My god-life! who can understand eve one little minute of it? 'don't try' he said 'just pretend you understand.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Arizona landscape

I had no talent for science. What was infinitely worse: all my fraternity brothers were engineers.

--Kurt Vonnegut

black pug puppy on green textile

Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown and black butterfly on pink flower

Fear hadn't come to him yet. Pain hadn't come where pain would come. There was only the feeling of having done something perfect at last--the taste of a drink from a cold, pure spring.

--Kurt Vonnegut

black pug puppy on white and pink textile

People like to feel entitled, whether they're actually entitled or not.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown and gray brick wall

So, in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be agreeing machines instead of thinking machines. All their minds had to do was to discover what other people were thinking, and then they thought that, too.

--Kurt Vonnegut

leafless tree on body of water during daytime

Whenever my children complain about the planet to me, I say 'Shut up, I just got here myself.'

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow flower

You should be careful about who you pretend to be, because who you pretend to be -- is actually who you are!

--Kurt Vonnegut



forest trees photograph

Humor is a way of holding off how awful life can be, to protect yourself.

--Kurt Vonnegut


yellow sunflower in close up photography

I can see where influential people would like Maharishi better than Jesus. My God, if the Beatles and Mia Farrow went to Jesus, He'd tell them to give all their money away.

--Kurt Vonnegut


sunset

Alcohol and marijuana, if used in moderation, plus loud, usually low-class music, make stress and boredom infinitely more bearable.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white stone woman sculpture

Thanks to their decreased brainpower, people aren't diverted from the main business of life by the hobgoblins of opinion anymore.

--Kurt Vonnegut

four handheld gardening tools on rack

This is Sunday, and the question arises, what'll I start tomorrow?

--Kurt Vonnegut

black and white window illustration

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white wall tiles

1. Find a subject you care about.
2. Do not ramble, though.
3. Keep it simple.
4. Have the guts to cut.
5. Sound like yourself.
6. Say what you mean to say.
7. Pity the readers.

--Kurt Vonnegut

man sitting on wooden bench near black metal railings

No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person sinking on body of water

There is never a shortage anywhere of lawyers eager to attack the First Amendment, as though it were nothing more than a clause in a lease from a crooked slumlord.

--Kurt Vonnegut

stars on outer space

Many people need desperately to receive this message: 'I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green palm tree during daytime

The waitress brought me another drink. She wanted to light my hurricane lamp again. I wouldn't let her. "Can you see anything in the dark, with your sunglasses on?" she asked me. "The big show is inside my head," I said.

--Kurt Vonnegut



white and black bird

All persons, living and dead, are purely coincidental.

--Kurt Vonnegut

clear hour glass with brown frame

He became fubar in the classic way, which is to say that he was the victim of a temporary arrangement that became permanent.

--Kurt Vonnegut


blue and white striped textile

I still catch myself feeling sad about things that don't matter anymore.

--Kurt Vonnegut

sunflowers

There are plenty of good reasons for fighting.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Longer Version:

There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, I said, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too.


minimalist photography of open door

George W. Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography.

--Kurt Vonnegut


pink and white roses on white surface

Fuller's cigar in the night was a beacon warning carefree, frivolous people away. It was plainly a cigar smoked in anger.

--Kurt Vonnegut

red flowers with water droplets

All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is.

--Kurt Vonnegut

selective focus of white flower

Nietzsche had a little one-liner on how to choose a wife. He said, ''Are you willing to have a conversation with this woman for the next forty years?'' That's how to pick a wife.

--Kurt Vonnegut



palm tree under orange sky

If I wrote something that hadn't really happened, and I tried to sell it, I could go to jail. That's fraud!

--Kurt Vonnegut

girl and boy figurines

Now, the engineers and managers believe with all their hearts the glorious things their forebears hired people to say about them. Yesterday's snow job becomes today's sermon.

--Kurt Vonnegut

gray leaves

It is always pitiful when any human being falls into a condition hardly more respectable than that of an animal. How much more pitiful it is when the person who falls has had all the advantages!

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue and white striped textile

The Earthlings behaved at all times as though there were a big eye in the sky as though that big eye were ravenous for entertainment.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white and black boat on sea during daytime

No moral value is greater than humanity.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person holding green plant during daytime

Maybe they invited me because they know I have a tuxedo.

--Kurt Vonnegut

birds flying under cloudy sky during daytime

We are America's Great Lakes people, her freshwater people, not an oceanic but a continental people. Whenever I swim in an ocean, I feel as though I am swimming in chicken soup.

--Kurt Vonnegut

red flowers with water droplets

A lot of people were opposed to it.
A lot of people were for it.
I myself think about it
as little as possible.

--Kurt Vonnegut


photo of white and brown bricked wall during daytime

I consider anybody a twerp who hasn't read 'Democracy in America' by Alexis de Tocqueville. There can never be a better book than that one on the strengths and vulnerabilities inherent in our form of government.

--Kurt Vonnegut



white desk lamp beside green plant

If you make people laugh or cry about little black marks on sheets of white paper, what is that but a practical joke? All the great story lines are great practical jokes that people fall for over and over again.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue and white abstract painting

What geography can give all Middle Westerners, along with the fresh water and topsoil, if they let it, is awe for an Edenic continent stretching forever in all directions. Makes you religious. Takes your breath away.

--Kurt Vonnegut

closeup photo of lounger chairs and beach umbrellas

I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without expectations of rewards or punishments after I am dead.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown grass field under blue sky and white clouds during daytime

I think you guys are going to have to come up with a lot of wonderful new lies, or people just aren't going to want to go on living.

--Kurt Vonnegut

pink and red flowers

The reason we write fiction is because it's so much easier to exist spending part of each day in an imaginary world.

--Kurt Vonnegut


brown grass field under blue sky and white clouds during daytime

He had no idea that people thought he was clowning. It was Fate, of course, which had costumed him -- Fate, and a feeble will to survive.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silver round analog wall clock

What do my science fiction stories have in common with pornography? Fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world, I'm told.

--Kurt Vonnegut


bare tress and mountain

I now make my living by being impolite. I am clumsy at it.

--Kurt Vonnegut


pink flowers in tilt shift lens

There is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white brick wall

Bad guys turned informer. Good guys didn't -- no matter when, no matter what.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette of trees during nighttime

Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.

--Kurt Vonnegut


woman in white and multicolored floral shirt standing and smiling on yellow sunflower field

Science is magic that works.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette of person's hands forming heart

What a fool I would have been to let self-respect interfere with my happiness!

--Kurt Vonnegut

pink and white abstract painting

You know, I think the main purpose of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps is to get poor Americans into clean, pressed, unpatched clothes, so rich Americans can stand to look at them.

--Kurt Vonnegut

two dragonflies on green cornate leaf

If you can do no good, at least do no harm.

--Kurt Vonnegut


bonfire in forest

A lover's a liar,
To himself he lies,
The truthful are loveless,
Like oysters their eyes!

--Kurt Vonnegut

cat with flower

Pretend to be good all the time, and even God will be fooled.

--Kurt Vonnegut



red textile on brown wooden table

If everybody would leave him alone for just a little while, he thought, he
wouldn't cause anybody any more trouble. He would turn to steam and float up among
the treetops.

--Kurt Vonnegut



solid background

The Population Reference Bureau predicts that the world's total population will double to 7,000,000,000 before the year 2000. I suppose they will all want dignity, I said.

--Kurt Vonnegut

dew drops on glass panel

The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody would be to not be used for anything by anybody. Thank you for using me, even though I didn't want to be used by anybody.

--Kurt Vonnegut


band performing on stage in front of people

Don't be reckless with other peoples hearts. And don't put up with people that are reckless with yours.

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow flower field near bare trees during daytime

It's perfectly ordinary to be a socialist. It's perfectly normal to be in favor of fire departments.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person holding dried beans

Evolution is so creative. That's how we got giraffes.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue wooden door opened

It's the emptiest and yet the fullest of all human messages: 'Good-bye.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white and black bird

A society is only as healthy as its ideas are humane.

--Kurt Vonnegut


brown rocky mountain under blue sky during daytime

Hitler at the end thought that he himself was one more casualty in the war.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue painted concrete wall during daytime

As for myself: I had come to the conclusion that there was nothing sacred about myself or about any human being, that we were all machines, doomed to collide and collide and collide.

--Kurt Vonnegut

sunset

There was no immunity to cuckoo ideas on Earth.

--Kurt Vonnegut

purple and green light digital wallpaper

People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown and white humming bird

The brainless serenity of charwomen and janitors working late at night came over us. In a messy world we were at least making our little corner clean.

--Kurt Vonnegut

aerial view of river in between green trees during daytime

All the new technology seems redundant to me. I was quite happy with the United States mail service. And, I don't even have an answering machine, for God's sake.

--Kurt Vonnegut

black Sony point-and-shoot camera on yellow surface

I used my daughter's crayons for each main character. One end of the wallpaper was the beginning of the story, and the other end was the end, and then there was all that middle part, which was the middle.

--Kurt Vonnegut


grayscale photography of raindrops

I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, "Please -- a little less love, and a little more common decency."

--Kurt Vonnegut

black fishes

His response was to fight it with the only weapons at hand--passive resistance and open displays of contempt.

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow and white abstract painting

What I would really like to have been, given a perfect world, is a jazz pianist. I mean jazz. I don't mean rock and roll. I mean the never-the-same-twice music the American black people gave the world.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown, black, and white butterfly on purple petaled flower photo

And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green leaf tree on shore

Be a good editor. The Universe needs more good editors, God knows.

--Kurt Vonnegut

solid background

I'm convinced that no one can amount to a damn in the arts if he becomes sweetly reasonable, seeing all sides of a picture, forgiving all sins.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person in black and white mask

I chose cultural anthropology, since it offered the greatest opportunity to write high-minded balderdash.

--Kurt Vonnegut

wallpaper plain

Vonnegut could not help looking back, despite the danger of being turned metaphorically into a pillar of salt, into am emblem of the death that comes to those who cannot let go of the past.

--Kurt Vonnegut

long exposure photography of beach

I think big business is a terrible thing for the spirit of the country, as our spirit is the best thing about us.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Milky way in nature photography

My soul seemed as foul as smoke from burning cat fur.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown sand under blue sky during daytime

The canary bird in the coal mine theory of the arts: artists should be treasured as alarm systems.

--Kurt Vonnegut


photo of white and brown bricked wall during daytime

Sometimes I wonder if he wasn't born dead. I never met a man who was less interested in the living. Sometimes I think that's the trouble with the world: too many people in high places who are stone-cold dead.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette of tall trees

Because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think our lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs. So people pretend there is drama where there is none.

--Kurt Vonnegut

black and white photography of alarm clock displaying 1:37 time

Much of the conversation in the country consisted of lines from television shows, both past and present.

--Kurt Vonnegut


white brick wall

Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn't well connected. So it goes.

--Kurt Vonnegut

woman on seashore near island under blue sky

Americans... are forever searching for love in forms it never takes, in places it can never be. It must have something to do with the vanished frontier.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person on road at sunset

Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?

--Kurt Vonnegut

black, purple, and orange basketball court beside concrete buildings at daytime

Unannounced changes in life's itinerary are like dancing lessons from God.

--Kurt Vonnegut

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

I've been living alone for so long, everything about me's private. I'm surprised anyone's able to understand a word I say.

--Kurt Vonnegut

band performing on stage in front of people

I think it's important to live in a nice country rather than a powerful one. Power makes everybody crazy.

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow flower

It was not the thought that God was cruel that froze me. I had taught myself never to expect anything from Him.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.

--Kurt Vonnegut


black fishes

I let the dog out, or I let him in, and we talk some. I let him know I like him, and he lets me know he likes me.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white rose flower

I was a student in the Department of Anthropology. At that time, they were teaching that there was absolutely no difference between anybody. They may be teaching that still.

--Kurt Vonnegut

purple, white, and pink floral painting

The secret to success in any human endeavor is total concentration.

--Kurt Vonnegut

jumping on snow covered mountain during daytime

Man created the checkerboard; God created the karass.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue sky

Maturity, the way I understand it, is knowing what your limitations are.

--Kurt Vonnegut

man and woman holding hand while walking on bridge

History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown and gray brick wall

I had a friend who was a heavy drinker. If somebody asked him if he'd been drunk the night before, he would always answer offhandedly, 'Oh, I imagine.' I've always liked that answer. It acknowledges life as a dream.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue and white abstract painting

Evolution can go to hell as far as I am concerned. What a mistake we are. We have mortally wounded this sweet life-supporting planet -- the only one in the whole Milky Way -- with a century of transportation whoopee.

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

Never had I seen a human being better adjusted to such a humiliating physical handicap. I shuddered with admiration.

--Kurt Vonnegut


tan wallpaper

I don't know about you, but I practice a disorganized religion. I belong to an unholy disorder. We call ourselves "Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment.

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow and red tulip in bloom close up photo

Nothing ever really ends. That's the horrible part of being in the short-story business--you have to be a real expert on ends. Nothing in real life ends. ‘Millicent at last understands.' Nobody ever understands.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown violin with black background

I will say, too, that lovemaking, if sincere, is one of the best ideas Satan put in the apple she gave to the serpent to give to Eve. The best idea in that apple, though, is making jazz.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person walking holding brown leather bag

Honest to God, Bill, the way things are going, all I can think of is that I'm a character in a book by somebody who wants to write about somebody who suffers all the time.

--Kurt Vonnegut


man wearing black jacket standing on street

Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person wearing red jacket climbing on glacier

We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.

--Kurt Vonnegut


person holding hourglass

My soul didn't know what kind of picture to paint, but my meat sure did.

--Kurt Vonnegut

round analog watch with black leather strap on top of white wooden surface

We're doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That's what it is to be alive. It's pretty dense kids who haven't figured that out by the time they're ten.... Most kids can't afford to go to Harvard and be misinformed.

--Kurt Vonnegut

rock mountain during starry night

Jokes have to be quite naked to be understood. They have to be quite simple.

--Kurt Vonnegut

stars across the sky view at the desert

Like all real heroes, Charley had a fatal flaw. He refused to believe that he had gonorrhea, whereas the truth was that he did.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person in black jacket standing on beach during daytime

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.

--Kurt Vonnegut

close up shot of white flower

I love you, because the love you gave me was the only love I've ever had, the only love I ever will have.

--Kurt Vonnegut

black and white photography of alarm clock displaying 1:37 time

His mother understood my illness immediately, that it was my world rather than myself that was diseased.

--Kurt Vonnegut


brown and white butterfly on purple petaled flower

You cannot be a good writer of serious fiction if you are not depressed.

--Kurt Vonnegut

stars across the sky view at the desert

The highest treason in the USA is to say Americans are not loved, no matter where they are, no matter what they are doing there.

--Kurt Vonnegut


silhouette of kneeling man

Armistice Day has become Veterans' Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans' Day is not.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green plant

Human beings used to be molecules which could do many, many different sorts of dances, or decline to dance at all -- as they pleased. My mother could do the waltz, the tango, the rumba..

--Kurt Vonnegut


ocean wave in shallow focus lens

Mister, when I see my first lady angel, if God ever sees fit to show me one, it'll be her wings not her face that'll make my mouth fall open. I've already seen the prettiest face that ever could be.

--Kurt Vonnegut

rock formation above water

Here we are trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.

--Kurt Vonnegut

bird on pier

All that has changed, in my opinion, is that, thanks to television, we can hide a great depression. we may even be hiding a third world war.

--Kurt Vonnegut

coffee mug on top of tablecloth beside ashtray

I beg you to believe the most ridiculous superstition of all: that humanity is at the center of the universe, the fulfiller or frustrateor of the grandest dreams of God Almighty.

--Kurt Vonnegut

starry night in Texas

It strikes me as gruesome and comical that in our culture we have an expectation that man can always solve his problems ... This is so untrue that it makes me want to cry-or laugh.

--Kurt Vonnegut

selective focus photography of grey coin operated telescope

Everything is nothing, with a twist.

--Kurt Vonnegut

long exposure photography of lights

If it weren't for the message of mercy and pity in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, I wouldn't want to be a human being. I would just as soon be a rattlesnake.

--Kurt Vonnegut

man in black suit jacket and woman in blue dress kissing during daytime

I can have oodles of charm when I want to.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green plant in tilt shift lens

Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette of man in water

Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

--Kurt Vonnegut

man on running field

Everything that ever has been always will be, and everything that ever will be always has been.

--Kurt Vonnegut

pink flower

Man is vile, and man makes nothing worth making, knows nothing worth knowing.

--Kurt Vonnegut

four wooden boat on teal sea

No art is possible without a dance with death.

--Kurt Vonnegut

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

Perhaps I am the turtle, able to live simply anywhere, even underwater for short periods, with my home on my back.

--Kurt Vonnegut

man in black jacket and black pants standing on brown rock formation during daytime

The feeling about a soldier is, when all is said and done, he wasn't really going to do very much with his life anyway. The example usually is: he wasn't going to compose Beethoven's Fifth.

--Kurt Vonnegut



shallow focus photography of bee on flower

The heartbreaking necessity of lying about reality and the heartbreaking impossibilty of lying about it.

--Kurt Vonnegut

black Corona typewriter on brown wood planks

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart.

--Kurt Vonnegut

yellow flower field under clear sky

I hate it that Americans are taught to fear some books and some ideas as though they were diseases.

--Kurt Vonnegut



brown brick wall photography

I am better now. Word of honour: I am better now.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown rugby ball

Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person holding red and beige twin bell analog alarm clock

We're here on Earth to fart around.

--Kurt Vonnegut

pink flowers in vase

That's what is was to be young -- to be enthusiastic rather than envious about the good work other people could do.

--Kurt Vonnegut

gray concrete painted wall

It is just an illusion here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.

--Kurt Vonnegut

pink and white clouds

Jack Benny, Fred Allen. Their jokes were wonderful. It takes skill to be funny. The timing of Jack Benny was so fine. It is a form of genius for which we should be grateful.

--Kurt Vonnegut

mountains covered with fog

I'm wild again, beguiled again, a whimpering, simpering child again. Bewitched, bothered, bewildered am I.

--Kurt Vonnegut

two women making peace sign near the Golden Gate bridge

What do men want? They want a lot of pals, and they wish that people wouldn't get so mad at them.

--Kurt Vonnegut

solid color

These were my people -- as used as I was to wanting love from nowhere, as certain as I was that almost anything desirable was likely to be booby-trapped.

--Kurt Vonnegut

woman wears black dress tutu dancing ballet on rooftop

Unfortunately, that still leaves plenty of Americans who don't read much or think much -- who will still be extremely useful in unjust wars. We are sick about that. We did the best we could.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown and white long coated small dog lying on green grass

My father said, ‘When in doubt, castle.'

--Kurt Vonnegut

man in white shirt and black pants standing on top of building

Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.

--Kurt Vonnegut



person holding brown sand close-up photography

The two prime movers in the Universe are Time and Luck.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Arizona landscape

Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I've said before, bugs in amber.

--Kurt Vonnegut


aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

And we all vied, in saving face, to be the greatest student of human nature, the person with the quickest sense of humor.

--Kurt Vonnegut


boy standing on grass and facing fence during daytime

Scum of the Earth as some may be in their daily lives, they can all be saints in emergencies.

--Kurt Vonnegut

red rose in bloom during daytime

To the as-yet-unborn, to all innocent wisps of undifferentiated nothingness: Watch out for life.

--Kurt Vonnegut

multicolored heart LED light on wall

If your brains were dynamite there wouldn't be enough to blow your hat off.

--Kurt Vonnegut

red rose

It seems to me that the most universal revolutionary wish now or ever is a wish for heaven, a wish by a human being to be honored by angels for something other than beauty or usefulness.

--Kurt Vonnegut

black, purple, and orange basketball court beside concrete buildings at daytime

All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist.

--Kurt Vonnegut

red and black logo

The complicated futility of ignorance.

--Kurt Vonnegut

woman standing between sunflower field during daytime

The other American divisions on our flanks managed to pull out: We were obliged to stay and fight. Bayonets aren't much good against tanks.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue and white water surface

I love cell phones. I see people so happy and proud, walking around. Gesturing, you know. I'm like Karl Marx, I'm up for anything that makes people happy.

--Kurt Vonnegut

shallow focus photo of white rose

As a Humanist, I love science. I hate superstition, which could never have given us A-bombs.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown and gray brick wall

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

--Kurt Vonnegut

snow mountains under nightsky

The arts are not a way to make a living.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Longer Version:

The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.


shallow focus photography of black DSLR camera

In the water I am beautiful.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette photography of man illustration

The people who lived here hated it so much that they had burned down a lot of it a month before. It was all they had, and they'd wrecked it.

--Kurt Vonnegut

minimalist photography of open door

Anybody with any sense knows the whole solar system will go up like a celluloid collar by-and-by.

--Kurt Vonnegut

rock formation in body of water

There is a tragic flaw in our precious constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.

--Kurt Vonnegut

couple kissing under gray clouds

Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time.

--Kurt Vonnegut

purple flower in macro lens

The late twentieth century will go down in history, i'm sure, as an era of pharmaceutical buffoonery.

--Kurt Vonnegut

None

Luck is not the hand of God.... Luck is the way the wind swirls and the dust settles eons after God has passed by.

--Kurt Vonnegut


silhouette of person on top of mountain pointing flashlight on sky filled with stars at night time

Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Longer Version:

Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic, and in tough times of my life I can listen to music and it makes such a difference.


silhouette photo of mountain during nighttime

The mind reels.

--Kurt Vonnegut


two children holding hands while walking in the middle of the fields

I am the victim of a fortunate series of accidents.

--Kurt Vonnegut

pink and white clouds

Back in my days as a chemistry student, I used to be quite a technocrat. I was firmly convinced that scientists would have cornered God and photographed Him in color by 1951.

--Kurt Vonnegut


None

I was hoping to build a country and add to its literature. That's why I served in World War II, and that's why I wrote books.

--Kurt Vonnegut


blue and white abstract painting

The planet was being destroyed by manufacturing processes, and what was being manufactured was lousy, by and large.

--Kurt Vonnegut


shallow focus photography of condenser microphone

Think of what a paradise this world would be if men were kind and wise.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white oriental lily flower

"Hello and good-bye." What else is there to say? Our language is much larger than it needs to be.

--Kurt Vonnegut


person walking holding brown leather bag

After that demonstration everybody was thinking, what's going to happen to these wonderful men who have been so useful to us? We have to give people something to do with life.

--Kurt Vonnegut


white rose enclosed photograph

Roses are red, And ready for plucking, You're sixteen, And ready for high school.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blooming pink flower

If you actually are an educated, thinking person, you will not be welcome in Washington, D.C. I know a couple of bright seventh graders who would not be welcome in Washington D.C.

--Kurt Vonnegut

purple flowered hedge plants

Even as I speak, the very last polar bear may be dying of hunger on account of climate change, on account of us. And I sure miss the polar bears. Their babies are so warm and cuddly and trusting, just like ours.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Clear blue ocean washing on the sandy shore on a clear day in Cancún

I'm so sorry -- we had this cottage up in Lake Maxinkuckee, in Culver. I've thought so often of the poor Pottawattomies we took this land away from. They must have loved it so.

--Kurt Vonnegut

flat lay photography teacup on top of saucer

Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, "It might have been.

--Kurt Vonnegut

gray concrete road between green trees during daytime

The human beings also passed canteens, which guards would fill with water. When food came in, the human beings were quiet and trusting and beautiful. They shared.

--Kurt Vonnegut

red tulip in bloom close up photo

Any man can call time out, but no man can say how long the time out will be.

--Kurt Vonnegut


four men sitting beside table

A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.

--Kurt Vonnegut


purple petaled flower

Pay no attention to Caesar. Caesar doesn't have the slightest idea what's really going on.

--Kurt Vonnegut

sunset

What had made me move through so many dead and pointless years was curiosity.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white and black soccer ball on grass field

Reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found.

--Kurt Vonnegut


low angle photography of gray concrete building

Big, undreamed-of things -- the people on the edge see them first.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette of off-road car

The truth is, we know so little about life, we don't really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person holding white mini bell alarmclock

You are better than you think.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown wallpaper

Every passing hour brings the Solar System forty three thousand miles closer to Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules -- and still there are some misfits who insist that there is no such thing as progress.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Arizona landscape rocks

Love is a hawk with velvet claws love is a rock with heart and veins love is a lion with satin jaws love is a storm with silken reins.

--Kurt Vonnegut


white desk lamp beside green plant

When the last living thing
Has died on account of us,
How poetical it would be
If Earth could say,
In a voice floating up
Perhaps
From the floor
Of the Grand Canyon,
"It is done."
People did not like it here.

--Kurt Vonnegut


aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves.

--Kurt Vonnegut



yellow and purple flower with white background

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.

--Kurt Vonnegut




sea during daytime

I concluded that the best thing for me and for those around me was to want nothing, to be enthusiastic about nothing, to be as unmotivated as possible, in fact, so that I would never again hurt anyone.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green grass field with smoke

We used to have superb public schools. I guess we don't anymore, but, boy, the public schools were really something and I am a product of those in Indianapolis.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown grass field near gray rocky mountain during daytime

Poverty is a relatively mild disease for even a very flimsy American soul, but uselessness will kill strong and weak souls alike, and kill every time.

--Kurt Vonnegut


river between trees under blue sky

We're a terribly lonesome society. For all I know, all societies are. You can make a few new friends, that's all. You can't change history. History is happening to us now.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white satellite dish under starry night

Never trust a survivor until you know how they survived.

--Kurt Vonnegut



red and pink flowers

Some jerk infected the Internet with an outright lie. It shows how easy it is to do and how credulous people are.

--Kurt Vonnegut


black textile in close up photography

Or they'll talk about fear, which we used to call politics- job politics, social politics, government politics.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person on road at sunset

The little girls were wearing black party dresses and black party shoes, so strangers would know at once how nice they were.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green leaf in close up photography

It's the writer's job to stage confrontations, so the characters will say surprising and revealing things, and educate and entertain us all.

--Kurt Vonnegut

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

And yet another moral occurs to me now: Make love when you can. It's good for you.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette of man on top of hill overlooking lighted city at dawn

You can't write novels without a touch of paranoia. I'm paranoid as an act of good citizenship, concerned about what the powerful people are up to.

--Kurt Vonnegut

shallow focus photography of orange flower

My own feeling is that if adultery is wickedness then so is food. Both make me feel so much better afterward.

--Kurt Vonnegut

person holding brown sand close-up photography

I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.

--Kurt Vonnegut

beach shore during day time

There is this feeling that I have a destiny far away from the shallow and preposterous posing that is our life.

--Kurt Vonnegut

bird in the sky

During most of my freelancing, I made what I would have made in charge of the cafeteria at a pretty good junior-high school.

--Kurt Vonnegut

sunset grasslands

If people think nature is their friend, then they sure don't need an enemy.

--Kurt Vonnegut

laughing woman photo

He ate a pear. It was a hard one. It fought back against his grinding teeth. It snapped in juicy protest.

--Kurt Vonnegut

telescope

It was headquartered in Michigan City, a long way off. I never saw Ku Klux Klan march.

--Kurt Vonnegut

red illustration

Men are jerks. Women are psychotic.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green leaf in close up photography

I had taught myself that a human being might as well look for diamond tiaras in the gutter as for rewards and punishments that were fair.

--Kurt Vonnegut

laughing woman photo

Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgment Day: We never asked to be born in the first place.

--Kurt Vonnegut

man and woman kissing beside body of water during daytime

There's a Chaplain who never visited the front.

--Kurt Vonnegut

sunset

Truth can be really powerful stuff if you're not expecting it.

--Kurt Vonnegut

The Muppets Kermit plush toy on gray sofa

As stupid and vicious as men are, this is a lovely day.

--Kurt Vonnegut


silhouette of elephant on brown sand during sunset

My cash cows, the slick magazines, were put out of business by TV.

--Kurt Vonnegut

grey hlalway

Charm was a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind.

--Kurt Vonnegut


silhouette of man standing on hill during starry night

And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like "Poo-tee-weet?

--Kurt Vonnegut

man standing outdoors

I would not be interested in writing if I didn't feel that what I wrote was an act of good citizenship or an attempt, at any rate, to be a good citizen.

--Kurt Vonnegut


green trees on body of water during daytime

That is my principal objection to life, I think: It's too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes.

--Kurt Vonnegut

selective focus of white flower

Where you can see tribal behavior now is in this business about teaching evolution in a science class and intelligent design. It's the scientists themselves are behaving tribally.

--Kurt Vonnegut

raging waves through shores

Just in the nick of time they realized that it was their own habitat they were wrecking -- that they weren't merely visitors.

--Kurt Vonnegut


silhouette of woman during sunset

And I say to Sam now: "Sam -- here's the book."
It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue and white painted wall

They tell him that there is no why, since the moment simply is and since all of them are trapped in the moment, like bugs in amber.

--Kurt Vonnegut

group of camels walking on desert lake at daytime

What has been America's most nurturing contribution to the culture of this planet so far? Many would say jazz. I, who love jazz, will say this instead: Alcoholics Anonymous.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown and white butterfly on purple petaled flower

Call me Jonah. My parents did, or nearly did. They called me John.

--Kurt Vonnegut


couple standing on grass field mountain

Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?

--Kurt Vonnegut

mountain with tree during daytime

He was seemingly born not only with a gift for language, but with a particularly nasty clock which makes him go crazy every three years or so.

--Kurt Vonnegut




brown wallpaper

With words alone, Gail Godwin has created an important piece of music about a love which death can only increase and deepen. Yes, and Frances Halsband's illustrations are a haunting countermelody.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue and white painted wall

If you really want to hurt your parents and you don't have nerve enough to be homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette of mountain

I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown desert under sunny sky

In the middle of Siberia I guess there's a lake that big like the Great Lakes, but there are practically no other lakes that big with fresh water.

--Kurt Vonnegut


green ceramic mug on wooden desk

All right -- I'll tell you what you did for me: you went for happy, silly, beautiful walks with me.

--Kurt Vonnegut

leafless tree under gray sky

I want you to adore the Universe, to be easily delighted, but to be prompt as well with impatience with those artists who offend your own deep notions of what the Universe is or should be. ‘This above all ...'.

--Kurt Vonnegut


silhouette of trees during sunset

I pity the Jews trying to get through life with only half a Bible. That's like trying to get from here to San Francisco with a road map that stops at Dubuque, Iowa.

--Kurt Vonnegut

blue sky and white clouds

The sermon was based on what he claimed was a well-known fact, that there were no Atheists in foxholes. I asked Jack what he thought of the sermon afterwards, and he said, "There's a Chaplain who never visited the front.

--Kurt Vonnegut

landscape photography of mountain hit by sun rays

One good thing about TV is, if you die violently, God forbid, on camera, you will not have died in vain because you will be great entertainment.

--Kurt Vonnegut

green trees under white sky during daytime

If I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I'm grateful that so many of those moments are nice.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Light blue to dark blue gradient

War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun.

--Kurt Vonnegut

pink petaled flower field

You can't just eat good food. You've got to talk about it too. And you've got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.

--Kurt Vonnegut

A view of the night showing stars

Listen. All great literature is about what a bummer it is to be a human being.

--Kurt Vonnegut


selective focus photography of pink petaled flower

They were adored by the Germans, who thought they were exactly what Englishmen ought to be. They made war look stylish and reasonable, and fun... They were dressed half for battle, half for tennis or croquet.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Clear blue ocean washing on the sandy shore on a clear day in Cancún

It seems to me divorce is so common now. It ought to be more institutionalized. It's like a head-on collision every time. It's supposed to be a surprise but it's commonplace.

--Kurt Vonnegut

tilt shift lens pink fetal flowers

What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at once.

--Kurt Vonnegut

houses and trees during nighttime

You are reading a bold and universal headline which says ,'I am here, I am here, I am here.

--Kurt Vonnegut




grayscale photography of mountain surrounded by trees

Puny man can do nothing at all to help or please God Almighty, and Luck is not the hand of God.

--Kurt Vonnegut

white petaled flower bloom during daytime

Symbols can be so beautiful, sometimes.

--Kurt Vonnegut

two clown fishes underwater

I think William Shakespeare was the wisest human being I ever heard of. To be perfectly frank, though, that's not saying much.

--Kurt Vonnegut

snow covered brown mountain

A lack of seriousness has led to all sorts of wonderful insights.

--Kurt Vonnegut



body of water under blue sky with stars

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers -- joined in the serious business of keeping our food, shelter, clothing and loved ones from combining with oxygen.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette of person wearing cowboy hat during sunset

I go on many thrilling adventures and wondrous, profound escapades through books.

--Kurt Vonnegut

gray surface

Well, you know, in a way I wish I hadn't met you two. It's much more convenient to think of the opposition as a nice homogeneous, dead-wrong mass. Now I've got to muddy my thinking with exceptions.

--Kurt Vonnegut

None

What is the difference between an enzyme and a hormone?" she might ask me.
"I don't know," I would say.
"You can't hear an enzyme," she would say.

--Kurt Vonnegut

body of water surrounded with plants under cloudy sky

Time is liquid. One moment is no more important than any other and all moments quickly run away.

--Kurt Vonnegut

ocean

I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled "Science Fiction" ... and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.

--Kurt Vonnegut

silhouette photography of wavy ocean

When I'm being funny, I try not to offend. I don't think much of what I've done has been in really ghastly taste. I don't think I have embarrassed many people or distressed them.

--Kurt Vonnegut

pink tulip flower

The biggest laughs are based on the biggest disappointments and the biggest fears.

--Kurt Vonnegut


yellow textile

Our classes were relatively small. Those small classes can feel like family. After a class in French or chemistry or whatever, we'd be talking in the halls about what we just learned.

--Kurt Vonnegut

We wish you a perfect day!