From American Psycho (2000):
From American Psycho (2000):
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.
“When I am writing, each morning at around eight o’clock I am at my desk with a tray of muffins and a thermos filled with hot coffee at my side, and I sit working for four hours and then leave for a quick lunch at a coffee shop, followed perhaps by a set or two of tennis. By 4:00 p.m. I am back at my desk revising, discarding, or adding to what I had written earlier. At 8:00 I am contemplating the numbing predinner delight of a dry gin martini.”
—Gay Talese, A Writer’s Life
Previous Gay Talese posts: Gay Talese’s Office, Dressed for a Dungeon, “I Don’t Use Notebooks. I Use Shirt Boards,” and The Species of Tailoring Is Threatened by the Outside World.
“On Saturday I wake at six and relishing the day ahead. I teach on Mondays and Tuesdays; I have to reread a novel for each class and take notes on it. Nothing makes me happier than the thought of this. I often lie there until the seven o’clock news comes on, grinning at the thought of the day ahead. All day I will read and take notes. The worst-case scenario is that I might need another book, and this involves lot of decision-making and self-consultation. It might end in a five-minute walk to the university library. But normally I go nowhere except to the fridge if I am hungry to see what’s there, or to the sofa to lie down if my back is tired, or to the rocking chair if I feel a need to rock. Normally there’s not much in the fridge. In the kitchen there is an oven I have never opened. And there are pots and pans whose purpose may be decorative for all I know. But I know where all my notebooks are.”
Wake up around 11AM. Have some coffee. Call my kids, and my wonderful mother. I then shower up. Read fan mail. Have lunch. Back on the phone. Read a book or write some thoughts down. Have dinner. Phone. Pushups. Then I listen to ESPN on the radio. Read the bible, then sleep. That’s my day.
Wayne (née Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.) is currently serving a one-year prison sentence at Rikers Island for attempted possession of a weapon after a gun was found on his tour bus in 2007.
Last month, he literally phoned in a verse he wanted appended to Drake’s “Light Up.” Best lyric: “Behind bars, but the bars don’t stop / Recording over the phone / I hope the call don’t drop.” Indeed.
“The lunch he prepared for us was perfect: homemade vegetable soup, tuna-salad sandwiches on chunks of suspiciously healthy-looking bread, and a dessert of berries, followed by coffee. He doesn’t drink, except on Friday nights, when he tends to have fun in biker bars. Mr. Waters’s life is otherwise disciplined. He gets up at 6 a.m. and is usually in bed by 10 p.m. or so: ‘I’m a Swiss person trapped in an American’s body. I like a very orderly life.’ He’s a meticulous man, too. His library of some 8,000 books is carefully catalogued. He’s a bookworm. ‘Nothing is more impotent than an unread library,’ he says. Formerly a heavy smoker, he showed me the record he carries of the number of days since he quit. He was on to Day 2,634.”
—John Heilpern, “Uncharted Waters,” Vanity Fair, June 2010.
“I play it very loose. I don’t carry a briefcase. I try not to schedule too many meetings. I leave my door open. You can’t be imaginative or entrepreneurial if you’ve got too much structure. I prefer to come to work each day and just see what develops. There is no typical week in my life. I wake up most mornings very early, around six, and spend the first hour or so of each day reading the morning newspapers. I usually arrive at my office by nine, and I get on the phone. There’s rarely a day with fewer than fifty calls, and often it runs to over a hundred. In between, I have at least a dozen meetings. The majority occur on the spur of the moment, and few of them last longer than fifteen minutes. I rarely stop for lunch. I leave my office by six-thiry, but I frequently make calls from home until midnight, and all weekend long.”
—Donald Trump, Trump: The Art of the Deal
Related reading: “How to Unschedule Your Work and Enjoy Guilt-Free Play”
“As the years passed he fell into a daily routine that seldom varied during autumn or winter. Each morning he wrote or read until it was time for the midday dinner; each afternoon he read or wrote or dreamed or merely stared at a sunbeam boring in through a hole in the blind and very slowly moving across the opposite wall. At sunset he went for a long walk, from which he returned late in the evening to eat a bowl of chocolate crumbed thick with bread and then talk about books with his two adoring sisters, Elizabeth and Louisa, both of whom were already marked for spinsterhood … In summer Hawthorne’s routine was more varied; he went for an early-morning swim among the rocks and often spent the day wandering alone by the shore, so idly that he amused himself by standing on a cliff and throwing stones at his shadow. Once, apparently, he stationed himself on the long toll-bridge north of Salem and watched the procession of travelers from morning to night. He never went to church, but on Sunday mornings he liked to stand behind the curtain of his open window and watch the congregation assemble.”
—Malcolm Cowley, “Editor’s Introduction,” The Portable Hawthorne
Related reading: Daily Routines.