Aphorisms by Lori Ellison

As a college student, Lori Ellison dreamed of opening her own fortune cookie factory “with fortunes something like Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies and aphoristic writings but couched in the assured language of divination.” Fortunately, she’s kept that dream alive by writing her own oblique yet assured aphorisms. A painter, writer, and lifetime independent bookstore clerk (semi-retired), Ellison is also a voracious consumer of aphorists’ biographies, most recently of Mae West, Karl Kraus, and G.C. Lichtenberg. Her aphorisms have something of all three of these aphorists: West’s humor and Kraus and Lichtenberg’s smart, satirical sensibilities. Ellison wishes to be known, in memoriam, some of the valiant independent bookstores she used to work for that are no longer in existence: Cokesbury Books (Richmond, VA), the Book Gallery in Willow Lawn Shopping Center (Richmond, VA), Watson & Co. Books (Austin, TX), and Gotham Book Mart, Posman’s Books, and Hacker Art Books (all in New York City). A selection of her aphorisms:

Spirituality is in the Inner Eye of the beholder.

Too varnished a style makes the eyes glaze over.

The only way those we intensely dislike can surprise us is by suddenly becoming likeable.

The nuclear family is easy to atomize.

Postmodernism was modernism’s midlife crisis.

We are not responsible for the character of the two characters that conspired in our conception.