Posts Tagged ‘Slaughterhouse Five’


I have a bunch of tasks ahead of me over the next couple of days so I am just going to share a song today. I don’t remember how I came across Kaz Hawkins awhile back nor do I know if she enjoys much popularity here.

But I always do enjoy hearing a song or two from her.

She’s a singer with a big blues-tinged voice from Northern Ireland now living in France. Her early life was filled with abuse, domestic violence, drug addiction and mental health issues that found her cutting herself. Her wounds are covered by the tattoos that adorn her arms. Along with her singing career she now advocates for mental health issues.

This song, Lipstick and Cocaine, was written and dedicated to the police and doctors who saved her life after a violent attack from an ex-partner. It’s a pretty powerful song. It makes you realize that w can sit and decry our own problems but everyone has their own challenges, many much greater your own. Problems that make your own pale in comparison.

So, in this week of thanks and expressions of gratitude, be thankful for your own problems and the fact that they don’t reach the depths of so many others. 

As the hobo in Slaughterhouse-Five said to Billy Pilgrim as they spent days as POW’s in a crowded train boxcar, “This ain’t so bad.”

It’s all relative.

Have a good day. 

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Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be.

       -Kurt Vonnegut



The quote above is from the late writer Kurt Vonnegut, who was one of the writing heroes of my youth.  I read his Slaughterhouse Five, a WW II dark comedy novel, over and over during my teens and twenties.   I identified strongly with his point of view and the aloofness of many of his main characters.  They always seemed slightly out of place in their worlds and times which appealed to the same feeling I have often felt.

I like this quote a lot.  It’s very arguable, simple but with aspects that are contradictory and open to debate.

When I first looked at the quote I thought of someone who aspires to a career as an artist or writer.  I remember reading many years ago some advice to prospective artists that said  to be an artist you must first act like an artist.  The writer’s point was that if you thought of yourself of an artist and did all the things an artist did with the same dedication, then eventually you would find you were truly an artist.

I have found this to be true, to a degree and with a few caveats.  For instance, I think this only applies if you stick with this for a long period of time.  Pretending you’re something for several months or a year only means you tried but couldn’t maintain the dedication that is required.  Doing it for a long time means going through the ups and downs of a career, the thrill of success and the abyss of being rejected.  Time means going through periods of creativity and periods when there is seemingly nothing.  But if you are what you say you are, you forge on. 

But before you pretend to be what you wish to be, know what the pitfalls are that accompany your choice.

This is kind of a continuation of yesterday’s blog, The Spiral, where I talked about expanding my horizon and thinking bigger.  I hope that more people reach out for what they really want and find the dedication in themselves that is needed to live the life they want.  

The key is to never stop reaching…

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