Slaughterhouse Five Quotes

When I read books, I always write my favorite quotes as I read. These are from the most recent book I read, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.

If I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I’m so grateful that so many of those moments are nice.

That’s one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones.

There isn’t any particular relationship between all the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.

All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.”

“Why me?”

“That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Well, here we are, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”

Where have all the years gone?

All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist. See how permanent all the moments are, and look at any moment that interests you. It is just an illusion that we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.

So it goes.

But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go.

And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.

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What It Means To Be A Human

Written December 2014

What it means to be human.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what a blessing it is to be a human on this earth. The odds of being any other creature are pretty high. But you are reading this, meaning you are lucky enough to be a person (and probably an awesome one). I’m not sure anyone really knows what it means to be human, but these are my ideas.

Being human means understanding the beauty rooted deep in all places of this earth. It means being aware that you are just a visitor, and that you should respect the rest of whom and what you share this space with.

Being human means being intelligent enough to adapt to what’s around you. This ability is in you. Use it.

Being human means finding connections with other humans.

Being human means appreciating every type of environment. From soil to sand to dirt to gravel and all the way to hardwood and tile floors. Whether we are under a tree or a roof, we can’t ever forget where we started and how we got to where we are.

Being human means respecting each other and those we share the earth with. In Costa Rica, the love and respect that people have for nature is contagious. They recognize that we share this land, not just with other people, but with trees and sloths and snakes and spiders, and all in between. Being human should mean being humble, and not crowning ourselves entitled.

Being human means having the capacity to try new things, paired with the ability to decide whether we like it or not.

Being human means consuming so much knowledge at a rate where we should always want more.

Being human means taking advantage of our ability to travel the world and do all of the above. As people, we have this power to inspire and move and change and share and love and teach and create. With so much power, it’s easy to waste. Don’t.

Being human means knowing that every beginning has an end. But if there is sincerity in between, I hope I never regret it. At one point, every thing we had and every one we had meant something to each other, and in this life, that’s all we really seem to be looking for.

Collection: Sunsets

As you may or may not know, I’m a big fan of sunsets (and rises).

For me, a sunset is a daily reminder of natural, moving, earthly beauty that takes place every single day; it’s something that can be seen from anywhere in the world.  In a way it connects us.  Part of it helps us to see that time is a constant we cannot control, a continuation of our separate lives, coming together for a few minutes at a time.

When I watch the sunset, I take the time to slow down.  Time deserves to be recognized, and if it takes a sunset to do so, then that will have to do.

Sunrises are different.  Those are for another time.  They make me feel completely different than sunsets do.

Anyway, here are a few of the best sunsets I’ve collected.  They’ve happened all over the world.  New York City, Long Beach Island, Point Pleasant, Jones Beach, Denver, Rome, Florence, Scotland.

That’s another beauty I find in sunsets.  Every single one is different.

(Some of these photos are Instagram’d, some taken on a Nikon D5100, iPhone 4, Fujifilm disposable camera.)

Hofstra University
Long Island, NY
2011

Hofstra University
Long Island, NY
2010

Seaside Heights, NJ
2012

Jones Beach
Long Island, NY
2010

Denver, CO
2012

Piazza Michaelangelo
Florence, Italy
2012

Ponte Vecchio
Florence, Italy
2012

Rome, Italy
2012

Hilton, NY
2011

Barnegat, NJ
2011

Warren County, NJ
2011

Loch Ness, Scotland
2006

Barnegat, NJ
2009