Aphorisms by Thomas Farber

Thomas Farber sums it up well, the paradox of writing aphorisms, a process that involves attempting to write something very very big in a format that is very very small: “Such an odd form: to strive for compression, verbal surprise, paradox, shock, rueful acknowledgment, or revelation of moral blindness may bring out one’s own oddities … Focusing, laser-like, on a single line—erotics of the irreducible; or working on a tiny canvas, like the 1970s artist who painted imaginary postage stamps.” Farber crams a lot into his own sayings, which he refers to as epigrams more often than as aphorisms. Many are miniature novellas—a glimpse of some hinted-at encounter, a one-sided dialogue with characters only known as ‘he’ or ‘she’. Farber is a senior lecturer in English at the University of California, Berkeley, and a recipient of Guggenheim, National Endowment,Rockefeller, Fulbright, and Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor fellowships. His sayings can be found in the books Truth Be Told and The Twoness of Oneness.

Old age. Farewells-in-progress, some not articulated. Oneself in the mirror: person to whom you must be sure to say goodbye.

“Who gives a shit?” the asshole asked, neglecting to wipe his mouth.

“I might…” Maysayer.

Writer: someone who can’t go without saying.

Material times: the going rate of self-interest.

Raised voices (should) raise skepticism.