I found the following excerpts of an interview with Kurt Vonnegut (who recently died) to be very interesting:
Tell me the reasons you’ve been attracted to a life of creation, whether as a writer or an artist.
I’ve been drawing all my life, just as a hobby, without really
having shows or anything. It’s just an agreeable thing to do, and I
recommend it to everybody. I always say to people, practice an art, no
matter how well or badly [you do it], because then you have the
experience of becoming, and it makes your soul grow. That includes
singing, dancing, writing, drawing, playing a musical instrument. 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. Well, there are lots of things worth doing that are
no way to make a living. They are agreeable ways to make a
more agreeable life.
We live in a very visual world today. Do words have any power left?
I was at a symposium some years back with my friends Joseph Heller and
William Styron, both dead now, and we were talking about the death of
the novel and the death of poetry, and Styron pointed out that the
novel has always been an elitist art form. It’s an art form for very
few people, because only a few can read very well. I’ve said that to
open a novel is to arrive in a music hall and be handed a viola. You
have to perform. [Laughs.] To stare at horizontal lines of phonetic
symbols and Arabic numbers and to be able to put a show on in your
head, it requires the reader to perform. If you can do it, you can go
whaling in the South Pacific with Herman Melville, or you can watch
Madame Bovary make a mess of her life in Paris. With pictures and
movies, all you have to do is sit there and look at them and it happens
You’ve stated that television is one of the most viable art forms in the world today.
Well, it is. It works like a dream. It’s a way to hold attention, and
it’s awfully good at that. For a lot of people, TV is life itself.
Churches used to provide people with better company than they had at
home, but now, no matter what your neighborhood life or family life is
like, you turn on the television and you get relatives, family. I don’t
know if you’ve heard about this, but scientists have created baby geese
that believe that an airplane is their mother. Human beings will
believe in all kinds of things that aren’t true, and that’s okay. And
TV is a part of that.
Is there another book in you, by chance?
No. Look, I’m 84 years old. Writers of fiction have usually done
their best work by the time they’re 45. Chess masters are through when
they’re 35, and so are baseball players. There are plenty of other
people writing. Let them do it.
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