The Naxos Aphorisms

This summer I had the pleasure of sharing a piece of work that would have otherwise gone discarded with the literary magazine KALEIDOSCOPED of UC San Diego. 

The online magazine’s inaugural issue Unfinished Stories fitted right into the moment, that moment which still continues. 

Editor Becca Rae Rose asked for ‘writing that resists completion, narratives whose endings we don’t or can’t know yet, stories about unresolved issues, or an unresolved story about a finished one… An essay about a memory lost. A memory about an essay you never wrote. A complete collection of sutured thoughts. An incomplete collection of unraveled poems.’

Basically, they were looking for the unfinished, the abandoned, the fragmented.

To which I could reply, “Sure. Here is everything I’ve done the whole of 2020.” 
I’m joking. Kind of.

The scrawls of Hilton Als

A Very Weird Summer

What Becca received were the aphorisms that filled my notebooks, my phone, my scrawled serviettes, receipts, and tourist brochures from a few weeks spent on the Greek island of Naxos. Together we made an online jaunt through the pieces that made up my state of my mind, and summarised that time and place of writing. A click-through foray which merges the terse and pithy tradition of the aphorism, with the attention sparse and kaleidoscopic medium of online publication.

Their examination of the kaleidoscope could not have been more fitting to how I reflect upon the year 2020. In the magazine’s words:

To kaleidoscope means to fragment into your parts, without a greater sum. Alternatively, to kaleidoscope means to find yourself in the moment of reforming your parts, each as they occur.

Through the lens of a kaleidoscope there is no “normal:” new fragments come into focus, reconfigured to tell a story that already existed. History, then, is not a thing of the past, and this moment is not one that will pass—it’s a folding over of time, bursts of history bubbling up into the present, a kaleidoscoped view of how we got here.

Overheard conversation:
“I over-ordered because that’s what you do when you really love someone.”

Excerpt from the Naxos Aphorisms

No Such Thing as Normal

The Naxos Aphorisms are now online in full. Click each star to go to the next fragment. If you’re reading on a phone, go here. Or for the ‘full experience,’ enter on desktop here.

Thank you to everyone at KALEIDOSCOPED magazine for the collaboration and for all your great ideas on how to make something out of the rubble. I hope you all enjoy the journey through this smattering of thoughts, happenings, and recordings of a very weird time – in and outside of this writer’s mind.

KALEIDOSCOPED is a new literary magazine formed at UC San Diego. The magazine is especially interested in publishing literary and visual art that makes use of cross-genre, hybrid, experimental, unusual, or fragmented forms, and in turn allows us to imagine the world from its creator’s unique position within it: to re-imagine what the world is, and what it might be. We hope to carve out space for works that don’t easily fit within academic and commercial publishing, including works by those who have never published before, those who don’t have a degree in the arts, or whose work shatters traditional notions of genre, time, and story.