Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Friday, November 17, 2006

Free books & birthdays, trala!

I’m racking up yet another dratted birthday on the 22nd—sometimes I am a Turkey Day Woman (you knew, you knew) but not this year, not quite—and feel like giving somebody a present. I’ll mail you or a person you like copies of my two barely-out paperback Firebird books, signed and wrapped by me in either birthday paper or Christmas paper, if you take home the laurel on a teensy, bitty, wee morsel of a contest. I’ll ask a novelist friend to judge; since they’re involved in the long, surely my pennish pals will be positively slavering to snap up the short.

Because I’m going to make it an aphorism contest.

THE GREAT BIG LITTLE APHORISM BIRTHDAY CONTEST Feel free to take a look at my aphorisms (go chutes and ladders down the page till you find some, all numbered so you can find a way through the labyrinth) and better them. So far I have done fat people (seemed a topic of the moment, but it made readers very skittish), tourists (obvious subject in Cooperstown), and poetry (the great and passionate form.) Right now I can’t decide what I feel like doing next. God is daunting. Chickens are frivolous but loom large. Poetry aphorisms are still popping into my head.

You may seize hold of some bizarre, delicate, wild, or orderly topic of your own. Reveal your inner maenad or show nothing but proper reticence. Do what you like, frolic and gambol as you may. Write one or a flood. End of the contest is midnight the 22nd. Please post any aphorism entries in the Comments (and thanks to Susanna for asking where.)

Update: The judge is Philip Lee Williams, author of 11 novels and 2 books of nonfiction and innumerable poems. Don’t let that scare you; we've been pen pals for a while, and I can certify that he’s a very sweet man, capable of silliness! I do hope we get some silliness along the way. And you can see his brand new nonfiction book right here. Dawning idea: I bet that would make the perfect illuminated present for somebody you know…

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29 comments:

  1. so the contest is to come up with our own aphorisms?

    I looked up aphorism again: a succinct statement expressing an opinion or general truth.

    If we were to play, would we just post in a coment?

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  2. Yes, do play in the comments! Perhaps I should have said so...

    You can look at mine. I wasn't held down by the truth much!

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  3. A best-seller is the gilded tomb of a mediocre talent.
    - Logan Pearsall Smith

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  4. a man with teenage children never again trusts to his own abilities.

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  5. What a splendid idea! My twin is the poet, and due to fierce sibling competition, I stick to the visual arts.

    Sigh. I could use some books to read. Maybe I'll direct my sister here and request a winning book in payment for the lead :).

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  6. a happy life requires two underlying passions; one for an idea and one for another person. one passion will only leave you bitter.

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  7. The sculptor is a Materialist with a soul.

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  8. A day whirled down the drain while I was out buying giant cakes for the high school musical and letting Charlie the storyteller cut my hair and so on... And now I come home to find new aphorisms! Lovely to make a start, I say.

    Amanda, I should have known that you would prove to be a twin. You like sculpting words as well, so you might just win all on your lonesome.

    Anonymous(es), don't forget to come back for a peek, since I don't know who/where/etc.

    Logan Pearsall Smith, I am honored by this visit from the dead. You console me for my lack of bestsellerdom! Good of you to remind me about death-in-life.

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  9. Fatness is the only personal failing that can be objectively measured. No one can say quantitatively how greedy or proud or lazy you are. But any scale can say within a pound how little regard society holds for you.

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  10. Nothing is so dangerous as a well wrought aphorism

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  11. Aaahhphorisms.
    Must. Get. Some. Done.

    Meanwhile, a line from that wonderful poem I found this morning by Charles Wright:

    And aphorisms skulk in the trees,

    Their wings folded, their heads bowed.

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  12. BTW -- happy happy b-day -- my delightful hubbie was born on the 23rd, so we'll be putting a candle on the turkey for sure.

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  13. Aphorisms skulking in trees? That means "April, and anything's possible." Well, maybe not April... Not just now.

    The anonymice have been pleasantly busy. Perhaps it is only one mouse. Aphorisms are addictive.

    Happy birthday to the Sometimes Turkey Husband from the Sometimes Turkey Wife & Mother. I know what it is to be a S. T.

    My ninety-foot ash is no more, no more. Likewise my purse: eviscerated. Good thing I wrote "Self-portrait as Dryad" last week, or it might never have been done.

    Saturday: in-laws, R's musical, much else. Shall check in for aphoristic activity over the weekend, whenever events and people allow.

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  14. Don't knock what's not hollow.

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  15. Jeffrey in Cullowhee9:14 PM, November 19, 2006

    Deceit's redemption resides in truth.

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  16. I found archbold, poems, and translatons at http://jmnemeion.blogspot.com/index.html... And so may you.

    But who is Jeffrey in Cullowhee (and who are the anonymice)? If not for three children who have to go to school, I would be on top of a mountain in Cullowhee--or maybe I would wait for the ice doldrums, come February and March. It's not Jeffery Beam, because this Jeffrey's mother spelled his name properly.

    Dunno.

    Hello!

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  17. A slap-dash twinset of aphorisms sans skulk:

    Nothing exceeds like excess. (That one may or may not be original...but I've been saying it for so long, I cannot recall the source if any.)

    A bird in the hand is worth a bandage on the thumb. (Coined after helping a friend give some medicine to his turkey.)

    More, if I can muster...(And thanks for the Chicken Feedback! I need to gather some more chicken-ish things and share.)

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  18. Every man secretly wishes for a troublesome wife upon which to blame his failings.

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  19. The desire of every anonymous person is fame. The desire of every famous person is wealth. The desire of every wealthy person is anonymity.

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  20. Jeffrey in Cullowhee5:00 PM, November 20, 2006

    Marly,
    As the aforementioned "Jeffrey in Cullowhee" I have been and remain one of your mother's pastors. The other is taller and better looking! Grace.

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  21. Hah!

    I never thought that that Jeffrey would be hanging out in the blogosphere!

    But here you are, frolicking with the anonymice.

    The next thing I know, you and the beautiful tall one will be starting a blog...

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  22. Happy, Happy Birthday!!!

    Many Happy Returns!

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  23. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARLY! Here is an aphorism.

    Sadness is best confined in small boxes so it may be consigned to the dustiest attic of memory.

    Clare D.

    P.S. This is a fun entry. Your books are on order and coming slowly my way.

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  24. If today is your birthday Happy Birthday to you! Today is my mothers birthday as well.

    I hope all your dreams come true.

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  25. Hi Aphoristas & others--

    Thanks for the birthday wishes--I wasn't hinting for any but am very glad to get them! Two very fattening feast days in a row: what shall I do?

    Happy birthday to Lori's hubbie and Susanna's mama and little Jimmie, N's playmate, and to Jack and Anne. What a popular time this is to be born!

    Once upon a time I was invited to a Thanksgiving/birthday party where there were five of us with birthdays. The hosts brought out a sheet cake, iced in deep Smurf blue, blazing with candle fire. The bonfire cake emitted an awe-inspiring noise, rather like a jet plane at take off, and abruptly blue icing shot off in all directions...

    A cream-colored carpet had been laid down in the dining room the week before.

    * * *

    I hope you all have much to be thankful for tomorrow and in the next year. Phil will be popping by some time between dinner and midnight on Thanksgiving Day to take a look at the aphorisms, so maybe we'll crown a winner by midnight.

    But I have enjoyed these a great deal, and think that you are all winners.

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  26. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birtday dear Marly, Happy Birthday to you.

    Oh and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    Love,
    Donna

    P.S. Pot Boy-Please cook up something delicious for the feast and post recipies.

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  27. Gluttony is no reflection of gratitude.

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  28. No recipes, no cooking, Blog Queen--a few pies and some cranberry sauce went to Esperance, but that's all.

    Appropriate to end on gluttony, but I'm ever-so-sure that none of you ate too much on Thanksgiving Day.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.