“In the heat of the moment, luke warm feels cold,” writes Lily Akerman. Akerman, by more than a decade, is the youngest contributor to Short Flights: Thirty-Two Modern Writers Share Aphorisms of Insight, Inspiration, and Wit (the first EVER anthology of modern writers of aphorism). Akerman is also a Fulbright scholar and a former Princeton University student of the National Book Award-nominated poet and aphorist (“God help my neighbors if I love them as I love myself”) James Richardson.
“When I’m in the mind to think of aphorisms,” writes Akerman, “I feel alert as a Geiger counter. I listen for the inaudible noise around me, the hidden paradoxes. As a puppeteer might discover a jaw in a pair of scissors, I look for the latent life around me. Underneath any rock could lie an ecosystem. From one angle, the rock might resemble sadness, from another silence. The word Silence could be the subject of a whole dictionary. I recently saw a micro-engraving by the artist Chen Zhong-Sen, who writes on surfaces smaller than a grain of rice. He carved a poem along a strand of hair. His work struck me as aphoristic, because like an aphorism, the form is born of intense concentration. When an aphorism is described as “sharp,” maybe this is what we mean: it has a high concentration, of thought and language.”