Friday, May 23, 2008


I've always liked reading epigrams. Sometimes they're jokes, as in Twain's "Wagner's music is better than it sounds," sometimes they're bits of folk-wisdom ("A stitch in time saves nine"), and sometimes they're philosophical appetizers, as in "Narrative is the art of making time legible," which I think Kate Haake wrote, but I'm not sure--she may have adapted it from someone.

I've long wanted to write epigrams; perhaps very short poems qualify as such. When I have the pithy phrasing ready, the wisdom-part fails me, and when I'm able at least to fake some wisdom, the pithiness isn't there, but I decided to forge on and write some.


1. Most epigrams are too sententious to love but too brief to resent.

2. Epigrams are linguistic actors pretending to be wisdom; they are the bit-players of philosophical drama.

3. A good question is a great gift. A great question is a revelation.

4. Ultimately, competition is tedious, and cooperation is intriguing.

5. Prayer is the art of being still when your mind wants to be in flight.

6. Poetry is a way language plays with humans.

7. All friendships should last longer.

8. All novels could be shorter; even in almost perfect novels, there's at least one extra word.

9. One's name is an accident that feels like an inevitability.

10. If you're illiterate, you can't read this, but you will not have missed anything.
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