Apho­risms, Frag­ments, and Literary Anom­alies

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James Lough (Ed­i­tor), Alex Stein (Ed­i­tor) Schaffner Press (APRIL) Soft­cover $17.95 (384pp) 978-1-943156-37-5

In an ideal world, we will be no shorter or taller than we need to be. No thin­ner or heav­ier. Smarter or dim­mer. We will be what we need to be.

Sim­i­larly, writ­ing need not be short or long to be what it needs to be. When the work is com­pleted, noth­ing more is nec­es­sary to write. Good writ­ing, like good art, should al­ways amount to the least that is needed—its ir­re­duc­ible min­i­mum.

But the best short writ­ing—in the form of apho­risms, koans, haikus, for ex­am­ple—has spe­cial pow­ers to shake us out of our con­cep­tual bi­ases and ac­tu­ally re­wire our neu­ro­log­i­cal path­ways. James Lough, co-ed­i­tor of Short Cir­cuits: Apho­risms, Frag­ments, and Literary Anom­alies, calls these aha mo­ments of bril­liantly worded apho­risms “lit­tle en­light­en­ments” that “ac­tu­ally man­age to sep­a­rate us from our­selves”—de­tach­ment, in Bud­dhist speak—and help us solve prob­lems, avoid worry and fear, de­velop em­pa­thy, and feel more “peace­ful, tol­er­ant, and open-minded.”

Fol­low­ing up on Short Flights: Thirty-two Mod­ern Writ­ers Share Apho­risms of In­sight, In­spi­ra­tion, and Wit (2015), Lough and Alex Stein as­sem­bled the short-writ­ing thoughts, cre­ative ideas, and fa­vorite short works of an­other stel­lar list of con­trib­u­tors.

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