I had no respect whatsoever for the creative works of either the painter or the novelist. I thought Karabekian with his meaningless pictures had entered into a con- spiracy with millionaires to make poor people feel stupid. I thought Beatrice Keedsler had joined hands with other old-fashioned storytellers to make people believe that life had leading characters, minor characters, significant de- tails, insignificant details, that it had lessons to be learned, tests to be passed, and a beginning, a middle, and an end. As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I had become more and more enraged and mystified by the idiot deci- sions made by my countymen. And then I had come suddenly to pity them, for I understood how innocent and natural it was for them to behave so abominably, and with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented in story books. This was the reason Americans shot each other so often: It was a convenient literary device for ending short stories and books. Why were so many Americans treated by their govern- ment as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tissues? Because that was the way authors cus- tomarily treated bit-part players in their made-up tales. And so on. Once I understood what was making America such a dangerous, unhappy nation of people who had nothing to do with real life, I resolved to shun storytelling. I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as impor- tant as any other. All facts would be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order, instead, which I think I have done. (210)
Vonnegut, Kurt. Breakfast of Champions. Dell: New York, 1975.