The following is by David Lazar, a professor of creative writing and English at Columbia College Chicago. He is the editor of the journal Hotel Amerika and the author of several books, including Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy: An Essay on Love and Occasional Desire: Essays (Nebraska, 2013).
His new book, I’ll Be Your Mirror: Essays and Aphorisms (Nebraska, 2017), further expands the dimensions of contemporary nonfiction writing by concluding with a series of aphorisms—such as the ones below.
Auguries for the New Year
What doesn’t kill us, almost kills us.
Don’t even try to forgive the unforgiving.
Turn a new leaf: what horrors might you find?
In the depths of winter, our tears for spring freeze.
Before the ink is dry, the most likely candidates for successful new year resolutions have already betrayed the false motivations behind their desire for change.
As the days grow longer, so do the ironies, stretching out like shadows.
The misery of frigid Februaries can’t efface the coming onslaught from the stink of Spring.
The acoustics of winter are post-modern; spring always sounds completely modern.
In February, one notices, the enchantment policy has lapsed, the premiums unpaid for months.
On the night of the solstice, shadows, at their retreat, plan their strategy for world domination.
The new year’s children all died of asphixiation.
Hope is an annual, not a perennial; this year I’m planting prognoses.
Looking on the bright side is so . . . glaring.
Things that are just around the corner: spring, warmer weather, joyous celebrations with those we love, illness, an unrecognizable face in the mirror.
The idea of “no worries” terrifies me.
Death itself would be such a charming companion for death. Think of the stories! What fun.
Some are born to endless night—but how strangely fashionable visiting Iceland has become.