“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.
And I realize some of you may be having trouble deciding whether I am kidding or not. So from now on I will tell you when I’m kidding.
For instance, join the National Guard or the Marines and teach democracy. I’m kidding.
We are about to be attacked by Al Qaeda. Wave flags if you have them. That always seems to scare them away. I’m kidding.
If you want to really hurt your 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 possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
Now, this quote may strike as offensive to many for various reasons, but the underlying message is extremely important. I chose to incorporate the uncensored/uncut version because I think it depicts some of Vonnegut’s creative charms, emphasizing even further what he his trying to say here. Firstly, he is talking about creative writing/arts overall. Fellow writing majors, do not worry, he is not trying to say you cannot make a career out of this type of writing. He is basically saying that having a career in any type of art format, particularly creative writing, it will not be easy. You will likely not be able to live off of this choice. That being said, even though it probably cannot sustain you financially, it can better you as a person. Whether it stems from creative writing, or even singing in the shower. Whatever it is you create, it is important because it is yours.
How does this relate back to the culture of writing?
Creativity is an essential part to writing in my opinion. Even in formats/environments where you may not be allowed to express yourself too much, creativity will still drive you as a person. Writing culture is present today for those involved, and I think creative writing fits nicely in its own category underneath it. For many (including myself), to write means to live. Creativity is a way to better the soul, so why not put the two and two together?