Graham Reid | | 2 min read
But there is more to Roy than that.
US-born, he grew up with a father who was a newspaper editor who, as he says in the introduction to this book, “specialized, among other things, in headlines. He had a gift for one-liners, one would have to say.”
And Roy the boy – here writing under the name Roy-Gapper – inherited a love of words and a pithy turn of phrase.
He collected aphorisms -- those astute, funny and/or wisely pithy thrusts of words – and over time began making up his own.
In this well-presented 135-page collection he gathers aphorisms from many famous and infamous sources alongside his own creations, some of which are like old maxims (“Togetherness is possible. Solitude inevitable”), others akin to pointed rhymes (“The bigger the range, the more likely the change”) and a few just plain puzzling like a koan (“Overlap, from Zen to Venn”).
Grouping these various sources and sayings under a couple of dozen general headings (Mistakes, Understanding, Motivation, Inspiration, If . . . and so on), Roy-Gapper offers one of those bedside table books which is best dipped into slowly to let these deep thoughts and small sayings percolate.
A year ago he sent me a pdf of it and asked if I would be interested in writing a blurb or some such for it. I read it, liked it, offered an aphorism of my own and agreed to write something . . . which is now reproduced on the back cover.
I offer what I wrote here for your further consideration (and no prizes for guessing who that “wise man” is mentioned at the end!
. . .
An aphorism may be a polished and pithy piece of distilled philosophy.
Or it could just be, in the words of the 19th century American writer and cynic Ambrose Bierce, “predigested wisdom”.
Aphorisms: they are what you make them and what you make of them, perhaps.
In these lively, amusing and thought-provoking pages, writer Kelvin Roy offers aphorisms from down the ages and for all occasions.
He has accumulated smart one-lines or wry observations from an impressively broad cast of characters which includes unlikely guests at the same table: Heraclitus, Lao Tzu, Michelangelo, inevitably Oscar Wilde and somewhat improbably Keith Richards.
Which proves that aphorisms are like the most shaded part of your anatomy, everyone's got one.
Roy has collected, collated and created aphorisms, he lays them out for all to see, herds them into pens of pensiveness, and never labours aphoristic alliteration . . . unlike some.
This always amusing collection illustrated by his young son (“Living with a child is like living with a Zen master”) includes aphorisms which can be conversation stoppers, are finely crafted wisdom to ponder or just “a few words in a fast-paced world” as he says in his instructive introduction.
Most of these quips, considered observations or off-the-cuff drolleries have the welcome economy of a koan in this time of information overload, are open questions for an age when people want quick answers, they are wit for Twitter age and sometimes a contemplative silence in the static and surface noise of the modern world.
Of aphorisms, Roy aphoristically observes, “The idea is to stimulate the maximum amount of thought with a minimum of words”.
And therein lies their reason for being. Aphorisms enlighten, provoke, make you laugh or simply function as smart one-liner to drop into a conversation.
But, as a wise man says in this marvelously compact book, “Beware the man who speaks in aphorisms”.
APHORISMS: GIFTED ONE-LINERS by KELVIN ROY-GAPPER, published by Austin Macauley. Available through Amazon (US$9.95) and Kindle (US$5.19)
For further information Kelvin Roy-Gapper also has a website for the book here