Kurt Vonnegut is an American writer-famous for his novel-Slaughter House. He belongs to the generation of modern novelists.
Where We Live
In the narrative ‘where we live’, the writer introduces us to the rustic village called Cod Bay. There is an old library there and a salesman tells the librarian that the Britannica volume is worn out, an old one belonging to the era of 1938. He urges them to purchase a new one.
Harrison Bergson is a writing piece about two people watching television-Hazel and her father Harry. Bergson had been out of prison. The people in the narrative are very emotional and get to talk about the mundane things of life.
Who am I this time?
The author has to take up the role of a theatre director. He discusses with the actors about real life situations which they could adapt in the play. The language that is used is the one of minimalism.
Welcome to the Monkey House
There is a discussion about birth control and ethical suicide as the population of the world is burgeoning. The writ-up is highly exaggerated and too difficult to believe.
Long walk to forever
In this article there is a description of a man and woman who had grown up together. They later meet and the man who is in the army comes to know that the woman is getting married. They have a walk and sort out issues and become reunited as a happy couple.
The Foster Portfolio
In the Foster Portfolio, the protagonist is an avid stock broker and he strikes a deal with a rich buyer named Henry. He is convincing and persuasive and he strikes a ton of a deal.
Miss temptation is a description of a voluptuous lady Susana. There are many lechers who stalk her. The story describes the beauty of the woman in ironic humor.
All the King’s Horses
All the King’s Horses is a story of an imprisoned American colonel and his wife. The enemy’s lieutenant engages in a sadistic conversation. He has got an inflated ego and hatred for the Yankees.
Tom Edison’s Shaggy Dog
Tom Edison’s shaggy dog is a writing that focuses on a Labrador. The dog is sensitive and intelligent and the dog always hangs his wet nose on the owner’s ankles. The narrator thinks that the dog had taught him a trick or two about casting winning lots in the stock market.
In the New Dictionary, the author narrates his fascination about searching for new words in the lexicon. He favors the unabridged one over the abridged one. Dirty words are a treat for the author, a surreal divine forest.
Next door is meat that describes a wall separating the dwellings of two families. There is a meek description of family life.
More Stately Mansions
More Stately mansions are a frigid narrative about the life of an aristocratic people. There is a lot of telling about the dwellings in the mansion, its decorations, and its furniture. One can’t be too impressed with the writing.
The Hyannis Port Story
The Hyannis Port Story is a literature in which the protagonist encounters a Commodore. Daily life is thumbed in vigorous prose.
DP is a moving tale that describes an orphanage run by nuns. The children there come from all nationalities. Many of the children are going through an identity crises. They feel the loss of having been abandoned by their parents.
The Barn House Effect
In the Barn House Effect, the author describes the powers of the mind which he defines as dynamo-psychism. The powers of the mind like clairvoyance, telepathy and exist as a hypothetical conjecture.
It started very simply for one well-known comedian. He was out with nothing to do one day and decided to buy a book. The subject of the book was how to write books, and the result changed his life. He has since had a television show in his own name, the hosted a famous and tremendously successful comedy show, and he is the new host of The Price is Right.
That's right, Drew Carrey got his start simply by buying a book on how to write jokes. So now you must be asking yourself, how can I learn to write jokes . If thats the case, then I hope to give you a few tips from my own experience.
The most important thing is to not be afraid of embarrassment. You will need to be a clown, be a fool. Some of your jokes will work and some will not, but they all need to be tested no matter what. In order to accurately be sure of the results of your test, you will need to be your own worst critic. The response you want is a full belly laugh, a loud guffaw, not just a polite giggle.
What ever you plan to write for, whether it be a novel, sitcom, or if your aim is to do stand-up comedy, people will expect a higher level of joke, then a group of friends might. Your friends will be more forgiving than an audience in a bar, even if they have had a bit to drink. If you are looking to write jokes, then chances are you are already a funny person and your friends, want to laugh at you, a sitcom audience want to not laugh at you.
It’s unbelievable how dependent we’ve become as a society on electronic communication devices! E-mail, text messaging, PDA’s, cell phones, video conferencing, blackberries, blueberries, rasberries, and more…have taken the place of good old fashioned, face-to-face communication leading to many interpersonal difficulties and miscommunications in today’s workplace.
You may be thinking…Why improve my interpersonal skills when most businesses do 99% of communication by telephone, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, e-mail, and on rare occasions, snail mail. A popular way of thinking today…but, is it really the correct way? “Face-to-face communication remains the most powerful human interaction,” says Kathleen Begley, Ed.D., author of Face-to-Face Communication, Making Human Connections in a Technology-Driven World. “As wonderful as electronic devices are, they can never fully replace the intimacy and immediacy of people conversing in the same room and it has worked for millions of years.”
In business, we talk about “B2B” (business to business) and “B2C” (business to consumer) methods. I try to buck the trend (in a positive way!) to stress the importance of face-to-face communication. You’ll hear me talk a lot about the “P2P” (people-to-people) connections and how important it is to get beyond technology and talk face-to-face with friends, family, colleagues, customers, vendors, and the like. You may think that’s a bit old-fashioned, but in my opinion, there is no substitution for the human, up-close and personal contact. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for the terrific technology tools we have today and I use it regularly, but it’s not always my first or best choice.
Several decades ago, John Naisbitt, in his mega 1960’s best-seller, Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, brought a new concept to the forefront called “high tech, high touch.” His idea was that “as human beings became capable of anonymous electronic communication, they would concurrently need more close-up personal interaction.” Seems to me that he was right on target!
We live in a society when flocking to the local coffee shop or diner for coffee chats with business associates or friends is a testimony to our need for human togetherness, especially when most coffee lovers can make a latte or cappuccino right in their homes. Think about the fortunes coffee establishments are making on our need for face-to-face communication! The people-to-people connections…
We hear of the many children (and adults) who spend countless hours alone playing video games. However, The Game Manufacturing Association reported in 2003 that family board game sales (like Monopoly and Scrabble) are booming and growing at 20% per year. Cranium has recently come out with a whole new line of board games for our “little people” (ages 3+). The people-to-people connections start at an early age – if you haven’t heard it, ask me to tell you my “Papa Zitto” story!
Even when disaster strikes and the news media bring these events into our homes and workplaces via TV, radio and the Internet, we seek out opportunities to share grief. I personally waited in line for almost three hours with hundreds of others to visit Ground Zero in New York when it opened to the public in December 2001. Many people also left makeshift shrines nearby to honor the victims of that tragedy. The people-to-people connections…
We lead hectic, multi-tasking lives both at home and in the workplace these days and we find the need for balance even more critical than in days gone by. We understand that technology can be impersonal, but it’s quick! We know we need to make time for more people-to-people connections but, the reality of the hectic pace doesn’t leave us much time for this more intimate form of communication. You may be thinking, isn’t it much faster to make a quick phone call, send a brief e-mail, or hook up via video-conferencing to have a meeting of the minds? Yes and no. It’s a communications paradox…faster is not always better.
So the better question may be, how can we make the best of both worlds – technology and face-to-face, people-to-people connections?
Just as fashions are redesigned and come back with a variation on a style from days-gone- by, I believe it is time for redesigning and revitalizing face-to-face (P2P) communication skills.
We need to get the balance right! People-to-people (P2P) communication skills remain one of the primary success factors in business, even in this age of technology. There are many situations – often those involving conflict, hurt feelings, high priority, or a large sum of money – that demand business people take the time and trouble to get in the same room to share information. Video-conferencing has become a good simulation and cost-effective method when individuals are in remote locations, but there is still no substitute for good, old-fashioned, face-to-face communication.
Don’t take my word for it…Let’s take a look at what some of the experts are saying.
Tom Peters, internationally known business guru, says without reservation that you should constantly attend to your face-to-face communication. Not to do so, will lead to career disaster. “We believe in high tech, high touch,” Peters writes. “No question, technology is the Great Enabler. But, paradoxically, now the human bit is more, not less, important than ever before.”
Sheila Hodge, author of Global Smarts: The Art of Communicating and Deal Making Anywhere in the World, says “The modern office is full of gadgets – computers and the Internet, uplinks and downlinks, videoconferencing, and online databases. Many people think they should let the fancy technology handle the messy task of interfacing with people.”
Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, in her book Reading People, talks about how young, technically oriented employees tend to communicate mostly in computer chat rooms. “If you want to become a better communicator, you must make a conscious effort to engage other people (in person),” she writes. “Even the most entrenched Internet junkie can learn the true meaning of ‘chat’ if the desire is there, but you have to get off the couch and make it happen.”
Gary McClain and Deborah Romaine in their book, The Everything Managing People Book, put it this way…”Consistent, daily face-to-face communication promotes more than just good feelings; it also promotes effective and collaborative teamwork.”
“One of the most critical areas of communication to get right in business is the one-on-one situations – especially offering advice, constructive feedback, and annual performance appraisals,” says Chris Roebuck in Effective Communication.
One of my favorite quotes stated very simply by Margaret Wheatley, Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope for the Future, says “I can believe we can change the world if we start talking to one another again.”
Sounds like we’re on to something here…So, what can you do? Start out by taking an honest look at your communication methods and your attitude about technology vs. (P2P) face-to-face interaction. Are you e-mailing more and meeting less for financial reasons? Are you avoiding human contact mostly because of a lack of interpersonal skills? If the latter is true, you need to take action before it’s too late.
The next time you are tempted to send an e-mail, text message or make a phone call for other than routine purposes, stop! Get back to basics. Go out of your comfort zone and, instead, send the e-mail, text message or make the call to set up a face-to-face, in person meeting with the person behind the technology! Why? Because it works!
Make the people-to-people connections… You and your business will be glad you did!
People often complain about not having enough time. Whether it’s getting out of going to the gym or abandoning treasured dreams, it’s a popular excuse. I sympathise, even though they’re lying.
Time? You have plenty of time – more than you know what to do with. It’s easy enough to prove. How much do you know about the last season of reality TV? Or are video games more your speed? Are you going out with friends a little more often than you should?
You want to enjoy life, I get it. Well, sort of. Writing is part of my dream life and I enjoy it more than wasting time. I crave following my purpose more than I crave distractions from it. And, wow, look at all the time I find for it. If something is important to you, then you can do the same.
But if you say that you work all day and come home exhausted, so what’s wrong with a little TV? Now we’re getting closer to the truth. That’s not a shortage of time, though – it’s a shortage of energy. Why is it acceptable to say you don’t have time (“I’m bad at prioritising every day!”) but running out of energy (“I have biological limits!”) is taboo?
Forget taboos. We’re here to solve a problem. Add an hour to most people’s days and that’s another hour of TV. Ramp up their energy by 10%, though, and you have a whole different person.
The truth shall set you free.
I won’t tell you all the ways to increase your energy. You know the most effective ones – sleep well, eat better, exercise. (Don’t tell me you don’t have time to do these. There’s that word again. And you have enough energy for them because they create energy). Instead, let’s look at things from a hypnotist’s perspective.
In my quest to better fathom my body and mind, I’ve made mistakes. A recent one was when I threw my nutrient levels out of whack. I’ve corrected it since (and then some) but, for a while, I was lethargic, irritable and unmotivated.
I learned two things from this experience:
One is that even running on empty, I found the energy to write every day. It’s important to me so I made it happen. Mere biological reality wasn’t going to hold me back.
Two, even as out of balance as I was, hypnotising myself made me feel whole. I could stave off the aches and fatigue with nothing but my thoughts.
Mind over matter? That phrase doesn’t come close to capturing it. Mind owns matter.
Some days are a struggle but they don’t have to be. Remember your mission. Why do you want to succeed at whatever you chose? Or whatever chose you, perhaps? Your perfect future won’t find you from where you are. It takes commitment to even meet it halfway, to get within line of sight of it. I’m not telling you this to pump you up – if it’s your purpose, then the commitment is easy.
If you had asked me to write 500 words a day, seven days a week, I would have choked. How would I even come up with that many ideas? Yet here I am, sailing well past the 500-word mark without even thinking about it. It’s because I’m driven. So are you, for the things that matter.
Having a purpose is the ultimate lifestyle upgrade. It forces you to dig deeper, think deeper and live deeper. And it’s easy! That’s the shocking part – how natural discipline is when it aligns with what you truly want. What’s harder is getting started, though, so once you know what you want to do, work towards it every day. You’ll quickly find that breaks are harder than working.