Michael Bierut on Massimo Vignelli, who died today at 83:
It was Massimo who taught me one of the simplest things in the world: that if you do good work, you get more good work to do, and conversely bad work brings more bad work. It sounds simple, but it’s remarkable, in a lifetime of pragmatics and compromises, how easy it is to forget: the only way to do good work is simply to do good work. Massimo did good work.
Previously on SFYP: Sasaki Colorstone Dinnerware, Massimo Vignelli’s Desk, Massimo Vignelli’s 80th Birthday Party Invitation.
“A good writer needs to know what it’s like, and ‘it’ can be just about anything. We have far too many writers today who have never ridden a horse, or fired a gun, or sharpened a knife, or fought with their fists, or been shot at. And so on and so on. They are like those professors who get a Ph.D. and a job teaching. Clearly nobody can try everything, but it’s possible to try a lot. I’ve sailed on a small boat, for example. Also a troopship, and a luxury liner. I’ve been a waiter, worked in a factory, and flown in a light plane. (No, I was not the pilot, but I wish I had been.)”
Today, November 11th, is, among other things, Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday.
Here, as described on page 202 of Charles Shields’s And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life, was his daily routine for a time when he was living, teaching, and writing in Iowa City in the 1960s:
Up at 5:30 every morning, he wrote until eight, fixed breakfast in the apartment, returned to his writing for another two hours, then took a walk into town to run errands and swim at the gymnasuim. After lunch, he read his mail and prepared for the afternoon’s teaching. Nights in the apartment he cooked dinner, listened to jazz, or read, a glass of scotch at his side.
Vonnegut’s daily routine isn’t described in Mason Currey’s wonderful (apart from my quibbles with his organization) book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, and because it’s Vonnegut’s birthday and I’m into this kind of stuff, I’ve included it here.
“I wake up at 8 a.m. and immediately do push-ups. I do push-ups until fail and then brush my teeth. I go to the kitchen and make a protein shake and boil some water with the electric kettle. While the water’s boiling I wash the dishes in the sink, and I grab an empty mug and put a strainer basket in the mug and tea leaves in the strainer basket. I drink strong, malty black teas in the mornings, a holdover from when I used to drink coffee, and while the tea is steeping I go back to my bedroom and make my bed. When the tea’s done, I retrieve it from the kitchen and sit down at the desk in my bedroom and wake my laptop.”
Read the whole thing.
Previously: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, Donald Trump’s, John Waters’s, and Lil Wayne’s, Colm Tóibín’s, and Gay Talese’s daily routines.
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