1. “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.” ― A Man Without A Country (2005)
2. “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.” — Slaughterhouse Five (1969)
3. “As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I had become more and more enraged by my countrymen. And then I had come suddenly to pity them, for I understood how innocent and natural it was to behave so abominably, and with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented in story books. This was the reason Americans shot each other so often: It was a convenient literary device for ending short stories and books.
Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as facial tissues?Because that was the way authors customarily treated bit-part players in their made-up tales. — Breakfast of Champions (1973)
4. “We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.” — A Man Without a Country (2005)
5. “Maturity…is knowing what your limitations are…Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.” — Cat’s Cradle (1963)
6. “That’s one thing earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones.” — Slaughterhouse Five (1969)
7. “Ideas on earth were badges of friendship or enmity. Their content did not matter. Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enmity.” — Breakfast of Champions (1973)
8. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” — Mother Night (1961)
9. “If you want to really hurt you parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. 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 possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” — A Man Without A Country (2005)
10. “Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” — God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965)
Thank you, Mr. Vonnegut for everything you did for American literature. You were one of a kind.