Aphorisms by Aaron Haspel

Thanks to the efforts of the hyper-actively aphoristically alert Dave Lull I know that Aaron Haspel ‏(@ahaspel) has written a book of aphorisms. I know it’s called Everything and that it, according to Haspel, “will be forthcoming when I persuade someone to come forth with it.” I also know that it is extremely good.

“This book began with the recognition that I was the sort of writer, or at least wanted to do the sort of writing, best tolerated a sentence or two at a time,” Haspel writes in the introduction. He then goes on to describe an approach to aphorisms—reading, writing, living them—with which I wholeheartedly agree: “To provide the instructions is also to act. Aphorisms are often derided as trivial, yet most people rule their lives with four or five of them.”

Everything is filled with Haspel’s wry, wise rules. And they are so good, I couldn’t limit myself to four or five of them…

One reads so as not to believe everything one reads.

In hell you are forced to reread continuously all the books you loved before you were twenty.

It takes half a lifetime to learn to read slowly.

You stir up a lot of sunken knowledge when you reorganize your library.

Infinitely more is lost in translation from thought to page than from one language to another.

The serial disciple is often mistaken for an independent thinker.

People say they can’t draw when they mean they can’t see, and that they can’t write when they mean they can’t think.

Untested beliefs are the most firmly held.

The last heresy is orthodoxy.

Where some has failed, more rarely succeeds.

The more you regard your life as a story the more you edit it.

Jobs are like jail, except with time added for good behavior.

The most interesting things to do are the dullest to watch.

To regard oneself as the exception is the rule.

Inopportunity is always knocking.

Whatever you have done, you are the sort of person who would do that.

What can be done can usually be undone, but at considerable expense.