Kurt Vonnegut was the Man.
Go back and read his books. DO IT NOW.
Once you’ve read his books, and fully appreciate his literary genius, you can watch this low-definition video with horrible audio that still rocks because it has KURT FREAKING VONNEGUT.
I would have paid monies to have him as my professor. Now that I think about it, I did pay monies to have professors. Hmm. Though my journalism profs were top-notch. Props to you all.
Now, it’s not so complicated, is it?
Hero in a hole.
Boy meets girl.
Girl with a problem.
Albert Einstein — and thousands of other people far, far smarter than you or I put together, even on our good days when our fingers spark magic and the coffee we drink would do better on an IQ test than Michele Bachmann — spent many years trying to come up with a unified theory of everything.
See, the whole E=MC2 was only part of the answer. That’s the equation for energy. He wanted to do an equation that also explained gravity and whatnot. IT IS COMPLICATED. We will not get into it.
But writing isn’t rocket science. Not even close.
Oh, people get all mystical and complicated, and come up with their own jargon and rules. Yet these self-appointed writing gurus all disagree, and they specialize so much that they know more and more about less and less until they know absolutely everything about nothing.
You’ve got screenwriters and reporters, poets and novelists, playwrights (who spell their name wrong) and songwriters (spelling it right, good job), copywriters and non-fiction authors — all with their own rules and jargon, their own writing conferences and groups that hand out awards.
You’ve got endless shelves of books about the craft of writing, each expert giving their own special equations to maybe solve a piece of of the puzzle.
Hear me now and believe me later in the week: We could unify this sucker, and we could do it without a lick of calculus or a single imaginary number. (Having -1 bottles of rieslings does nothing for me.)
So let’s do it. I have evil ideas, and have scribbled on the blackboard while cackling with glee.
But I’d like to hear what my brilliant writer friends say. How would you smash the walls that separate the different houses of writers?
6 thoughts on “Vonnegut, Einstein and a Grand Unified Theory of Writing”
“It’s not copyrighted.” I love Kurt and will forever miss him. I met him at a party once. All twinkly-eyed and full of wonder. Always interested in the other person. The other story. That was HIS genius.
Albert’s genius was a whole other thing, and his story is yet to be finished. Hopefully it ends, or his problem is solved rather, with an up-curve. For all of our sakes.
And your last question had a phrase in it that is very apt for this problem. The Fourth Wall. But smashing that would cause all sorts of dreary things to The Story that really matters. (And yes, playwrights do spell their name wrong. I kept telling the best of them that during my career. But did they listen?)
Always thought-provoking. Or just provoking ;). Missed reading you.
Thanks for the kind and interesting comment.
We should talk smack about writing, you and I.
Also: My silly season is basically over next week. No more blogging hiatus. 🙂
Sure, I’ll bite!
Impossible. Can’t be done. “A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.” -Albert Einstein
Possible. Can be done. WATCH THIS.