Friday, January 4, 2013
nothing like a good breakfast
Here we are not far into another year that looks, for all intents and purposes, much like the one just gone. If there was an Apocalypse these past few weeks I must have missed it - either that or they did a nice job tidying up while I was sleeping. Except for more snow the place looks pretty much as it did in November.
Earlier today I found myself looking at the list of posts I did last year. Out of 66 in total I drew or painted pictures for 40 of them. I wasn't that impressed with most of the results so I've resolved not to do that again this year. There are enough strange (and free) images on the internets and even more strange things to write about if one doesn't feel obliged to sit down and draw a picture first.
While I've been actively ignoring my drawing table for the past two days I have been re-reading a couple of novels written by Kurt Vonnegut. By the time he wrote 'Breakfast of Champions' he was inspired to draw his own illustrations for the book with a felt-tipped pen. I'm going to assume everyone has read 'Slaughterhouse 5' (just in case you haven't and don't have the time the movie is pretty good) but not everyone has read 'Breakfast'. This page I scanned is one from near the beginning and just so you don't have to squint at what's written here's the gist:
1492 - "The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them."
"The chief weapon of the sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was much too late, how heartless and greedy they were.”
"Here was another piece of nonsense which children were taught: that the sea pirates eventually created a government which became a beacon of freedom of human beings everywhere else. There were pictures and statues of this supposed imaginary beacon for children to see. It was sort of ice-cream cone on fire. It looked like this:"
and another, somewhat less cynical, quote that epitomizes his message to us:
“What is the purpose of life?...To be the eyes and ears and conscience of the Creator of the Universe, you fool!”
Kurt Vonnegut on the shapes of stories from Maria Popova on Vimeo.
I'll be back soon. Maybe I'll tell you the story about how the biggest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai, was constructed without being hooked up to a sewer system. That's because there wasn't one. Another thing Kurt Vonnegut got right was:
"Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance."