Vonnegut and the Shapes of Stories

You’ve seen this one.

amanwithoutacountryIt’s distilled Vonnegut, iconoclastic and in its own bizarre way elegant. It’s funny, of course. And yes, it makes sense. It also gives us permission to play. We know because it’s Vonnegut, and because there’s more like it in A Man Without a Country (Maria Popova has a lovely post on the book) that none of it, and perhaps least of all the Western civ reference, is meant to be taken literally.

I could spend time drawing my own shapes, and it would be loads of fun. Non-Western civ shapes–the tortured plummeting downward of the Ramayana, the embedded spirals of frame stories and avatars through the ages. But this is my favorite list of all.

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

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