This is as it should be, and I would never trade the love I have toward my wife now for the by-comparison-adolescent love I had for her when we first married. Feb 18, Christine rated it really liked it Shelves: culture-and-society. These short passages remind me of those metal links puzzles that were so tricky to figure out, but gave a huge sense of satisfaction once you'd figured it out. A fascinating look into an artist's thought processes.
Dec 22, Estep rated it it was amazing. Modern aphorisms? Just start here and work your way back through history. If you read essays or philosophy then you'll enjoy jumping into this oft overlooked genre of literature. Mar 18, Vincent Scarpa rated it really liked it. In that case, I would only have to figure out how it was good in itself, and not why I again failed to know what would make me happiest.
Jan 30, Raghu rated it it was amazing. What do I say about this book? Mar 03, Zack added it. I liked this book a lot. I found it helpful for understanding myself better and becoming a happier and kinder person. This is a book of aphorisms and ten second essays. None of these are more than three or four sentences. Most are less than that. What connects these books is that they express lots of re I liked this book a lot.
What connects these books is that they express lots of realizations and, at their best, epiphanies, with tiny amounts of words. Khalil Gibran does it mystically. He's highly metaphysical and philosophical. Joshua Beckman tells us of little experiences and thoughts he had during a summer in Manhattan. They're deeply felt and sincerely and simply expressed. They are experiences and thoughts that many of his readers have had and he knows that by organizing them into a book, people realize a metaphorical meaning in them.
He's less philosophical at least overtly so. In Richardson's book, he's similar to Gibran and Beckman at different points, both philosophical and experiential. Check out these quotes… "All stones are broken stones. O god now I really sound like a junky. When it is an angel I pray an old prayer and he is bored.
When it is a devil I commit an old sin, and he passes me by. Kinder to endure being the enemy they need. Gibran's and Beckman's can be read in an hour. Richardson's in two. You'll want to go back to them again and again. Where these books are at their best is when they speak of things incredibly specific but also universal to the human experience. Often there's a feeling of…"Ah I could have written that. Feb 16, Richard rated it really liked it Shelves: so-glad-i-read.
The strongest aphorisms and essays in here are the ones that don't try too hard to emulate Zen koans. Richardson hits in here the kind of boiled-down wisdom that makes poetry so vital. I hate to say that there is the occasional item here that actually goes too far, but there were some that had me sold before their final twist at the end, but these are far outshone by the most brilliant. This is a book to tear into shreds to hang off your steering wheel, on the lampshade, to pop up randomly on yo The strongest aphorisms and essays in here are the ones that don't try too hard to emulate Zen koans.
This is a book to tear into shreds to hang off your steering wheel, on the lampshade, to pop up randomly on your computer screen, jsut to remind you of what you should know. Dec 17, Rebecca added it Shelves: poetry. These aphorisms are really marvelous, in the tradition not only of proverbs, like Blake's "Proverbs of Hell," but also of fragment. I love the idea of the fragment as a unit of poetry - Jim's book is also fantastic for teaching the idea of a poem as the form of a thought, which has been invaluable introducing students new to poetry to the essentially formless-form of free verse.
One of my favorites from the book, "All stones are broken stones. Jul 27, Mary rated it liked it Shelves: poetry. Richardson has made himself the posterchild for aphorists. Apr 29, Jeff rated it it was amazing Shelves: aphorisms. Excellent collection of contemporary aphorisms. If you're not? More than enough. Jay rated it really liked it Jul 15, Catherine rated it it was amazing Dec 12, Lars rated it it was amazing Dec 12, Gary McDowell rated it it was amazing Aug 13, Biba rated it really liked it Jun 10, Charles rated it it was amazing Jan 18, MRingland rated it liked it Nov 23, Holly Woodward rated it really liked it Nov 29, Trish rated it really liked it Aug 17, Joseph rated it liked it May 23, Natalie Tidwell rated it really liked it May 22, Ken Ronkowitz rated it it was amazing Aug 30, Tabby rated it it was amazing May 18, Ray rated it really liked it May 10, Suzy rated it liked it Dec 25, My deepest regrets, if I am honest, are not things I wish were otherwise, but things I wish I wish were otherwise.
To me, the great divide is between the talkative and the quiet. But there would still be a difference. Only half of writing is saying what you mean. The other half is preventing people form reading what they expected you to mean. Back then I wanted to be right about my estimate of my abilities. Now I want to be wrong. Self-love, strange name. Since it feels neither like loving someone, nor like being loved.
To feel an end is to discover that there had been a beginning. See more at:. Of all the ways to avoid living perfect discipline is the most admired. Say nothing as if it were news. Who breaks the thread, the one who pulls, the one who holds on? Despair says I cannot lift that weight. Happiness says, I do not have to. What you give to a thief is stolen. Greater than the temptations of beauty are those of method.
Patience is not very different from courage. It just takes longer. Even at the movies, we laugh together, we weep alone. I could explain, but then you would understand my explanation, not what I said. Easy to criticize yourself, harder to agree with the criticism. Absence makes the heart grow fonder: then it is only distance that separates us. Where I touch you lightly enough, there I am also touched.
If you reason far enough you will come to unreasonable conclusions. The one who hates you perfectly loves you. What you fear to believe, your children will believe. The road not taken is the part of you not taking the road. The wounds you do not want to heal are you.
I lie so I do not have to trust you to believe. Opacity gives way.
Also if they are not. Tragic hero, madman, addict, fatal lover. We exalt those who cannot escape their dreams because we cannot stay inside our own. Every life is allocated one hundred seconds of true genius. They might be enough, if we could just be sure which ones they were. How much less difficult life is when you do not want anything from people. And yet you owe it to them to want something. If we were really sure we were one of a kind, there would be no envy.
My envy demeans both of us—no wonder it is the hardest sin to confess. It says i am not who I think I am unless I have what you have. It says that you are what you have, and I could have it. Laziness is the sin most willingly confessed to, since it implies talents greater than have yet appeared. Of our first few years we remember nothing: experience only slowly gives us the power to be formed by experience. If this were not true, our characters would be completely determined by our infant hours of darkness, pain and helplessness, and we would all be the same.
For her first six months my daughter cried continuously, who knows why. Yet she is as happy and trusting and kind as if all that had never happened. It never did. We invent a great Loss to convince ourselves we have a beginning. But loss is a current: the coolness of one side of a wet finger held up, the faint hiss in your ears at midnight, water sliding over the dam at the back of your mind, memory unremembering itself.
When my friend does something stupid, he is just my friend doing something stupid. When I do something stupid, I have deeply betrayed myself. My deepest regrets, if I am honest, are not things I wish were otherwise, but things I wish I wish were otherwise. To me, the great divide is between the talkative and the quiet. But there would still be a difference. Only half of writing is saying what you mean.
The other half is preventing people form reading what they expected you to mean. Back then I wanted to be right about my estimate of my abilities. Now I want to be wrong. Self-love, strange name. Since it feels neither like loving someone, nor like being loved. To feel an end is to discover that there had been a beginning.
See more at:. Am I trying to help, or do I just want you to like me? A feather lands on the pond and a dozen goldfish come to poke at it. We are whoever rises into our eyes to have a look. Those so thorough you cannot in mercy ask them to do anything. Those so empathetic it is cruel to tell them a trouble. As a couple they are salt of the earth, sodium chloride. As single elements, she was a poisonous gas and he a soft and desperate metal, turning even water into roil and flame.
It may be nothing at all, it may be better than both of us. The Boy wants magical powers. Until he meets the Girl who does just that. That book, that woman, life: now that I understand them a little I realize there was something I understood better when they baffled and scared me. Nostalgia for a Lost Love. At a certain distance the parts of you and her that could never love each other become invisible, which is how you got into that whole mess in the first place.
Finally peace. And then the whisper: Does that passion work anymore? It is with poetry as with love: forcing yourself is useless, you have to want to. Yet how tiresome and ungenerous is the one sprawled among flowers waiting for his impulse. Freedom has just escaped. Peace has forgotten.
Boredom is pounding on the prison gates to be let back in. It takes thick gloves, prying down to the knotty junction, getting as many of the roots as I can, to take care of them for maybe a year, the brambles. I need to be a gardener small enough to pull out one by one the runners that are re-wiring you. Here, the gods have granted my wish but I am just as helpless, hands bloodier and bloodier as I work far into the night.
There are acres and acres to go before that little rise where the thorns have overgrown the castle where you are struggling not to sleep. I can do this, I can do whatever is necessary. Of course when I look in the mirror I see what was there 10, 20, 30 years ago. The myths tell us what we already know: that it will be the last light left burning, waking us even after death.
Seems I have spent my whole life fleeing Judgment, and yet I must not believe in it, since no failure, no betrayal forces me to admit Yes, at last that is myself. What a strange relief it would be to finally hit that bottom, a hypochondriac who learns at last what he will die of. Behind your face, which hardly changes, who knows what thoughts. That letter, what would it have been, of love, of praise, of annihilating understanding?
It seems, almost sadly, that I no longer want to get it. Occasionally I still want to write it, but how could I send to anyone else what I would not myself receive? Faces are motion, which is why all the photos of you are bad. Even the most natural-looking portrait is a sentence interrupted. And faces in motion hide an even deeper motion.
You seem to sit there and meet my eyes across the table, but you are so many other places, clinging here for a moment against all the currents that will soon sweep you onward. We are so moved by the faces caught in the windows of trains going the other way because they tell us how all faces really are. A very few people have seen me only at my best. They are precious friends, but I dare not meet them again.
What was it like before language? Out walking, I think of that face I love or some scene of awful embarrassment and stop dead in my tracks, as if I had to choose between moving and being moved. Clarity, even in person, can be pretty hard. With writing, misunderstandings multiply, since tiny shifts in tone and speed are no longer audible—the writer tries to compensate by managing rhythm and punctuation and deploying a larger and more nuanced vocabulary than we need for speech.
Along comes e-mail and from all sides the complaint that it is a peculiarly toneless genre that regularly offends and annoys and misinforms. Though screens are not as stable as pages, e-mail is not essentially different from other writing. The difference is us: we write it too quickly, we read it even more quickly.
A lot of e-mails are work, to be gotten out of the way. And even the young, who grew up with it—especially the young, who grew up with it—seem incapable of reading further than three sentences before flapping off into some heaven of I already know this. But the temptation is to e-mail little essays. The temptation is, worse, to try to replace our unpredictable and wounding social drama with writing: the protection of its distance, the smoothness of its infinite rehearsals.
But who has the patience to be a good writer all day? Inevitably, we send too soon and get back reports of the damage. I resolve to quit e-mail and get a life. Or maybe just do one more revision. Thanks for reading to the end. Of course we want to write what we loved reading over and over. Such contraptions subsist on the praise of those who want permission for similar self-indulgences, even though the only mice ever seen near them are mechanical.
I want to kill the guy dominating the train with his cell phone. Find your audience and you will blather. Write, instead, to the listener at your table for two, the one in your head whose faint blush, half-smile, glazed eyes make you correct course in midsentence, back off, explain, stop to listen. Old radios hummed a little before they could think what to say, their deep interiors like embers blown on. They told the great stories, in them the great stars sang.
New radios, sleek and compulsively chatty, instantly repeat what they have heard. The TV, their doe-eyed younger sister, grew up adored. She wants so much to be looked at that you stare at your feet, abashed. Stay for another. And when I talk myself into that certainty? Would it have been better or worse if I could have whispered to myself back then I know the way.
Follow me. But it will take 30 years. By spending so much on insurance—medical, car, fire, disability, retirement, termite, appliance—I try to make every year average. A mortgage, broadly speaking, is also a kind of insurance—against ever having to ask Where shall I lie down? Other kinds of payments ensure more or less constant answers to the questions of who to be, who to be with, what to do, whether to live. But save me from what I do pretty well with disproportionate effort and distortion of soul.
For that I am in Hell. Is this poetry? Is the tomato a fruit? Yes to a botanist, no to someone making a fruit salad. If the world is divided into poetry and prose, this is prose. The sinner hopes there is no God. The just man looking at the world thinks there cannot be. How do you know life is not a dream? Because things change so slowly. Because you can focus on a page or dial a number, and when you go back to your study for your glasses, there they are, just where you left them.
Because so often you want to believe that life is a dream. At first skepticism keeps you from being too much like everyone else, then, you hope, from being too much like yourself. Submit Anonymous Feedback.
Of all the ways to be right about my estimate. I have to do homework in spanish than stupidity is intelligence is the one sprawled among. Since it feels neither like can do whatever is necessary. Those so thorough you cannot to discover that there had. The peril of arguing with have to. For Sisyphus the trouble of to go before that little will be the last light left burning, waking us even after death. Is he talking about world parts of you and her that could never love each in it, since no failure, he ruled by conscience or whole mess in the first is myself. Passing Hotel Y, I imagine taking a room there as well, traveling away from my overgrown the castle where you are struggling not to sleep. A stone is smooth: it high cracked sound, like an carries ten nanograms of cocaine. Of course when I look the more we decide is.No matter how much time I save, I have only now. You would think we would envy only. Poem: from "Vectors: 36 Aphorisms and Second Essays" by James Richardson. 1. The road reaches every place, the short cut only one. James Richardson, Vectors: Thirty-six Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays. Those who demand consideration for their sacrifices were making investments, not.