It’s the little things, the good word, the bon mot that come down to us. “Festina lente,” the Emperor August used to say: “Hurry slowly.” Words I try to live by.
Other words to try to live by can be found in a new book by Sparrow called Small Happiness and Other Epiphanies, aphorisms that are full of surprises and fun, and once you start reading them, it’s hard to stop.
I have always admired Sparrow’s ability—I think it’s because he thinks a lot—to have the exact word he needs appear so effortlessly on the tip of his tongue. His new book is divided into four sections: Small Happiness, Smaller Happiness, Extended Epiphanies, and Brief Epiphanies.
Here are the first three:
Happiness starts small; learn to recognize it. It’s like a weed we see every day but cannot identify.
Small happiness is generous. If you win $12 million, you’ll hide it from your friends, but if you’re given a free pizza, you’ll share it with everyone.
If you want big happiness, take drugs. If you want small happiness, wake up early. At 6 AM, the world hasn’t had time to generate trouble. The birds tentatively sing. The sun tentatively brightens the sky. The day starts small.
Sparrow reads from Small Happiness and Other Epiphanies in the Vimeo below. We put it together via Zoom a few weeks ago. Enjoy.
Small Happiness and Other Epiphanies is published by Monkfish. You can check it out here:
An interview with Sparrow about Happiness via Mitch Corber and Poetry Thin Air:
And an excerpt from Sparrow’s Election Journal, put together by Michael Ruby and Sam Truitt at Jacket 2.