What moves you?

What is it that really gets you going? I have thought about this question often times. It’s a mix between reflecting on myself and being grateful for what I get.

Everyone’s always told us to be grateful but for me personally the point was really driven home by Kurt Vonnegut.

Kurt Vonnegut, in case you are unaware, is my favourite author ever. In one of his books he talks about his uncle Alex Vonnegut. Uncle Alex had a catchphrase that he would use every time the whole family would get together and be having a good time. Or when he’d take his nephews and nieces out for ice cream and such. Nothing special, just a regular decent time.

His catchphrase was this –

If this isn’t nice, what is?

I first read this sometime in 2014 or 2015. And it has stayed with me since. I have probably told a solid two dozen people about it. Pretty much anyone who bothers to talk to me for an extended period of time ends up hearing about this catchphrase.

I have read nearly all published works of Kurt Vonnegut – his novels, his short stories, his plays, even his letters. I like KV so much that I goaded my friends into gifting me a collection of his works for my birthday.

And recently, Robert Weide released a documentary on Kurt Vonnegut. So of course I watched it the other night. It is called “Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time” and it took Robert Weide nearly 40 years to make it. I had just finished reading KV’s “Breakfast of Champions” the week before so I was in full KV mindset. I absolutely loved the movie.

After watching it, this question came to me – “What moves you?” And so I wrote the answer for myself. Now I am sharing it with you.

What moves me? These things –

  1. Laughter with my friends and family
  2. Insatiable urge to keep creating / writing
  3. A good meal, often cooked by myself
  4. A good shit
  5. An experience that makes me feel small, disposable and unnecessary (looking at the night sky, watching a particular movie, facts about the universe)
  6. Entertaining an audience (at a party, as part of a theatrical production or a comedy set)
  7. Helping people (if I like them or am in the mood for it)
  8. Watching people achieve (I get very happy when my friends do well in life)
  9. Discovering little projects on the internet made with great love by a random human being I have never met in my life
  10. Leaves rustling in the wind outside my room
  11. Caring too much about the well-being of all the world’s people and animals and everything else (and convincing myself that I cannot do very much about it so I must do something very little about it very often)
  12. Surprising myself with things that I make (a dish, a string of words, an artistic explanation)
  13. Explaining things to people (except my mom; she is my simultaneously my worst and best student)
  14. Hearing from people who I have just explained something to that I make a very good explainer of things
  15. Reaping the results of consistent effort (exercise, learning, relationships)
  16. Being funny
  17. Waking up each day knowing that there are new things to think about
  18. Thinking about things
  19. Learning about people, things and everything to do about people and things
  20. Listening to people when they are being themselves
  21. Dogs.
  22. People taking on those in power and giving them the mickey (like the farmers’ protest)
  23. People lower in the hierarchy taking the crony bosses for a ride
  24. People bonding over a shared experience, community, or intoxication
  25. Entertaining people’s fascination with my appearance, community and experience
  26. Interacting with people who speak different languages than I do
  27. Doing the Wordle daily and sharing my score with friends

Remember: If this isn’t nice, what is?

Tell me what you think? Or share what moves you. Email / text is the way.

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Cheers! See you soon.

Last modified: Feb 05, 2022