Rough Drafts of Aphorisms


Back in the studio, days have had a consistency even if one began under a marine white and the other a sliver of blue. I drove to the beach three days in a row. That felt like a good rule — get in the car and go somewhere, every day. No matter your agenda of projects and the like. To counteract the otherwise dissonant impulses to do very little or far too much. Today it was pilates and voting and listening to The Princess Bride on audiobook, because apparently it was Tuesday and my guest visit to the bookclub was next Thursday. I sat in the car in the parking lot and read last minute voter guides and decided to occasionally under-vote — leaving invisible and unconnected the boxes where my knowledge or opinion fell short of my own civic sensibility. I voted for someone who’d had an impact in my past and would potentially have some small impact on someone’s future like my own. He ran unopposed. So who else? Seriously.

Perhaps this had always been one of my hidden, invisibly inked agenda item that I could now see, unwavering each time I shook the magic eight ball of the day, its icosahedron  uncovered messages all custom printed from rough drafts of aphorisms surfacing from the pool of inky purple-blue:

  • Whatever you were putting off, do it sooner.
    • Earlier.
  • No amount of thinking heats up the ocean.
    • But some thinking does require proper time in the oven.
  • Give the advice you’d want to hear.
    • But don’t step away.
      • Support the words with action.
  • Listen. Really listen.
    • To yourself.
    • And others.
  • Maybe do less?

At or after dawn every morning I look up at the apex of the a-frame and ponder the acuteness of the angle. It’s not quite ninety degrees at its steeple and the hanging rectangle of self-reflection is blurry without my glasses but still magic.

That colorful mirror was a print, the one by Stuart Davis that had taken him six years to complete.  I find some new shape in its balanced abstractions every morning. And it seems to reflect back whatever emotion I’ve carried forth, different with every morning. I suspect now that it will take me at least six years to complete seeing it, too. I find some new experience past the white framed glass and lithograph and beyond the white fabric of the parachute-curtain which — for the past four or five seasons of the solstice — has been hoisted up on one long eucalyptus branch and secured to the buildings with boat knots. The best view on the whole property was now on the other side.

It is the solstice season, again.

And again, the room sounded like a boat from a creaking of ropes in tension against old wood and hooks. It looked like an ocean, too, abstracted and framed by the window and a surface meant to catch your fall and now was catching light.

Underneath the window frame were the four new books I brought with me back from Brooklyn. I’d set them down horizontally atop the Mattise/Diebenkorn imprint, also white, and it resembled some set of temples and staircase of spines that I might find the time to read, which was more time than I’d found today, in which so far I’d just tilted my head at them in a tsundoku of admiration. You bought these books somehow thinking you were buying the time to read them, too.

If I did read, it would need to be sooner.

And earlier.

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