Posted: 31 August, 2014 in Uncategorized
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I read with a pen. Pull a book off my shelf and scattered through the pages you might learn as much about what I thought of the book and where I was in my life as if you were reading my journal (also may of my stories begin in the margins of books). This makes me weary of lending books. In fact I’ve still never really forgiven an ex-girlfriend for not returning my copy of House of Leaves which I heavily annotated and illustrated.

I also find I learn a great deal from going back over my notes. I remember the book better. I can more easily call back specific quotes I don’t want to forget. And I’ve never lost the childhood habit of circling words, phrases, or references with which I am not well acquainted. Also words I really like, but rarely see or hear, words that are used in ways I hadn’t thought of, words that are antiquated, that have fallen from our fashionable lexicon and I wish I used more, neologistic words that make total sense but don’t appear in Miriam-Webster’s.

So today I thought I’d throw together some of my notes from my most recent read, Bluebeard, by Kurt Vonnegut. Think of it as a weird kind of cliff notes and also a little bit of admitting things I don’t know.

I haven’t included everything. Some of my notes are private and some of the passages I select are half or even a page long and I’ve left some of those out. Also, this work uses many historical figures as characters along with plenty of plain made up characters so there are a few which may end up not having much explanation.






Nutriment – nourishment; sustenance.


Cherchez le femme –  French for “look for the woman.” The implication is that a man behaves out of character or in an otherwise inexplicable manner because he is trying to cover up an affair with a woman, or trying to impress or gain favor with a woman.
Paul salzinger says, incidentally, that the human condition can be summed up in just one word: Embarrassment
“What does ‘Hello’ mean?” She said.
And I said “I had always understood it to mean Hello”
“Well it doesn’t,” she said. “It means, ‘don’t talk about anything important.’ It means, ‘I’m smiling but not listening, so just go away.’”
“If anybody has discovered what life is all about” Father might say, “it is too late. I am no longer interested.”
Terry Kitchen – Fictional Character/abstract painter of Vonnegut’s creation


There were miraculous breakfast foods and would soon be helicopters for every family… a war well worth fighting! – [in regards to WWII]


Judging from your pictures you hate facts like poison


Never trust a survivor… until you find out what he did to stay alive.


Porte-cochere – coach gate or carriage porch is a porch- or portico-like structure at a main or secondary entrance to a building through which a horse and carriage (or motor vehicle) can pass in order for the occupants to alight under cover, protected from the weather.
“Everybody who is alive is a survivor, and everybody who is dead isn’t,” I said. “so everybody alive must have survivors syndrome. It’s that or death. I am so damn sick of people telling me proudly that they are survivors! Nine times out of ten it’s a cannibal or a billionaire!”
Opus nine – Fictional Painting


Blue and burnt – Fictional Painting


Cezanne – Paul,  French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century.


Nelson Algren – Author of The Man with the Golden Arm“in the late 1940s and early 1950s he was one of the best known literary writers in America.” The lover of French writer Simone de Beauvoir,


Irwin Shaw –  a prolific American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author


James Jones – was an American author known for his explorations of World War II and its aftermath. wrote From here to Eternity. 
The paintings by dead men who were poor most of their lives are the most valuable pieces in my collection.
And if an artist wants to really jack up the prices of his creations, may I suggest suicide.

“Writers will kill for audience.”
“An audience of one?” I said.
“That’s all she needed,” she said “That’s all anybody needs,”
That’s the secret of how to enjoy writing and how to make yourself meet high standards… you don’t write for the whole world, and you don’t write for ten people, or two. You write for just one person.


Fillip – something that acts as a stimulus or boost to an activity/Flick
A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but world’s champions.
Photographs are a poor substitute for all the people killed in the massacre
Pate – crown of the head
Thanks to television, we can hide a Great Depression. We may even be hiding a third world war.
Verdigris –  a green pigment obtained through the application of acetic acid to copper plates


Al Jolson –  a Jewish Lithuanian-born American singer, film actor, and comedian.


Booth Tarkington – an American novelist and dramatist best known for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. He is, with William Faulkner and John Updike, one of only three novelists to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once.


W.C. Fields -an American comedian, actor,juggler and writer.


George Santayana –  Spanish Born American raiseda philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist.


Caftan –  front-buttoned coat or overdress, of ancient Mesopotamian origin.


Cantilevered – is a beam anchored at only one end. The beam carries the load to the support where it is forced against by a moment and shear stress.Cantilever construction allows for overhanging structures without external bracing.


John Cage – an American composer,


Greta Garbo – A Swedish film actress


Alacrity – brisk and cheerful readiness.


Everybody should be buried with somebody else, just about anybody else, whenever feasible.
Matisse of a woman holding a black cat in her arms and standing before a brick wall covered with yellow roses – Don’t think it’s a real painting


Concupiscent – filled with sexual desire
Painters —and storytellers… They are the justices of the Supreme Court of Good and Evil…
The most admirable thing about the Abstract Expressionist painters… was their refusal to serve on such a court.


I can remember thinking that war was so horrible that, at last, thank goodness, nobody could ever be fooled by romantic pictures and fiction and history into marching to war again.
Nowadays, of course you can buy a machine gun with a plastic bayonet for your little kid at the nearest toy boutique.




Arshile Gorky – was an Armenian-American painter, who had a seminal influence on Abstract Expressionism.


Syd Solomon – An american Abstract Artist.




What Pollack did lacked that greatest of all crowd pleasers, which was human sacrifice.
An erection with which you might have smashed coconuts.




John singer – portrait of madame X



Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?
Obsequies – funeral rites


Terpsichore – “delight in dancing”one of the nine Muses


James Whistler – n American-born, British-based artist active during the American Gilded Age


Henry James – an American writer  regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism.


Emile Zola – as a French writer, the most well-known practitioner of the literary school of naturalism


Pasha – Turkish Title, approximately equivalent to Lord


Levantine -eastern Mediterranean geographic area


Obsolescent – becoming obsolete.


Clerestory – any high windows above eye level. The purpose is to bring outside light, fresh air, or both into the inner space.


Locution – a word or phrase, especially with regard to style or idiom/an utterance regarded in terms of its intrinsic meaning or reference, as distinct from its function or purpose in context.


Cosmopolite – is a real word.


Arno –  River in the Tuscan area of Italy.


Parlance – a particular way of speaking or using words, especially a way common to those with a particular job or interest.


Widow’s weeds – Black clothes worn by a widow in mourning.


She had had a life. I had accumulated anecdotes.
Floparroo – Neologism of Vonnegut’s creation


Willem de Kooning –  Dutch American abstract expressionist artist


William Baziotes – American Abstract Expressionist/surrealist painter


James brooks – An american Muralist/abstract expressionist painter


Hans hofmann – as a German-born American abstract expressionist painter.


Barnette Newman –  an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism.


Phillip Guston – was a painter and printmaker in the New York School,


Walker Tomlin – (bradley) belonged to the generation of New York School Abstract Expressionist artists


Gustav Klimt – was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement.


Flense – slice the skin or fat from (a carcass, especially that of a whale).


Conrad Aiken – was an American novelist and poet


Voluble – speaking incessantly and fluently.



We’re having a celebration, so all sorts of things have been said which are not true. That’s how to act at a party.



Hasps – a slotted hinged metal plate that forms part of a fastening for a door or lid and is fitted over a metal loop and secured by a pin or padlock.



The Japanese were as responsible as the Germans for turning Americans into a bunch of bankrupt militaristic fuckups—after we’d done such a good job of being sincere war-haters after the First World War



Awl – a long, pointed spike. for making holes in wood;


Languorous – feeling tired and relaxed







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