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Today's Stichomancy for Kurt Vonnegut

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Art of Writing by Robert Louis Stevenson:

infants to the three second; and yet each, in a particular point of literary art, excels his superior in the whole. What is that point?

2. THE WEB. - Literature, although it stands apart by reason of the great destiny and general use of its medium in the affairs of men, is yet an art like other arts. Of these we may distinguish two great classes: those arts, like sculpture, painting, acting, which are representative, or, as used to be said very clumsily, imitative; and those, like architecture, music, and the dance, which are self- sufficient, and merely presentative. Each class, in right of

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis:

and visit about their friends and the topics of the day. Then he goes happily to bed, his conscience clear, having contributed his mite to the prosperity of the city and to his own bank-account.

"'In politics and religion this Sane Citizen is the canniest man on earth; and in the arts he invariably has a natural taste which makes him pick out the best, every time. In no country in the world will you find so many reproductions of the Old Masters and of well-known paintings on parlor walls as in these United States. No country has anything like our number of phonographs, with not only dance records and comic but also the best operas, such as Verdi, rendered by the world's highest-paid singers.

"'In other countries, art and literature are left to a lot of shabby bums

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Frances Waldeaux by Rebecca Davis:

nothing in their lives but work and the church; and when, each day, they have finished with one they go to the other.

Frances followed her. The sombre little church was vacant. She touched Lisa on the shoulder.

"There is something I must tell you," she said. "You would not let me touch the child, if you knew it."

She stooped and spoke a few sentences in a vehement whisper, and then leaned back, exhausted, against the wall.

Lisa drew back. Her lips were white with sudden fright,

The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain:

good wisdom to keep quiet about this matter, too, if I did not wish to be suddenly shunned and forsaken by everybody as a madman.

The next morning Sandy assembled the swine in the dining-room and gave them their breakfast, waiting upon them personally and manifesting in every way the deep reverence which the natives of her island, ancient and modern, have always felt for rank, let its outward casket and the mental and moral contents be what they may. I could have eaten with the hogs if I had had birth approaching my lofty official rank; but


A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court