accident: n; 2. Those who follow religion take the accident of their birth seriously.

achievement: n; 2. It is enough to pass one’s life continually preventing things from occurring, things which one does not
desire, things which one fears. Such a life of negative enthusiasm reaches it maximum zeal and efficacy when even the
possibility of achieving something
is prevented from manifesting itself.

artist: n; 31. It is not enough to struggle against something. One must struggle in spite of it. 32. There comes a moment in the
life of every artist when he understands that everything he has been involved with no longer has any relation to his life as an
. It is difficult to proceed from such an insight, and almost impossible not to retreat into the morbid security of craft and
technique. Nevertheless, for the artist, to proceed is the only course of action that leads to life.

authority: n; 4. Every neurosis, and every psychosis, represents an authority we are willing to believe in.

calling: n; 1. There are some flowers who feel that their proper calling is to relinquish their roots and offer themselves as
companions for those who reside in cemeteries. For such flowers, the bloom that colours fields and gardens is a pale effort
compared with what is possible for those who wish to exhaust their colour in the proximity of eternity. 2. There are words that
know us, that call us by name. And for a time, perhaps for only a day, perhaps decades, perhaps even longer, we will recognize
such a word as our master. The duration of our servitude has nothing to do with our desire to liberate ourselves. Instead it is
the word, no longer requiring anything from us, that takes its leave.

celebration: n; The genius is celebrated after his death because then no one has to speak to him, or, more specifically, answer him.

comfort: n; 2. The comfort offered by a child is insufficient— and that is why we love them.

condemnation: n; 4. You are condemned not because you have upset world harmony, but because you seek it.

convergence: n; In my mind, there are roads that should never meet, but do. This is problematic for almost everything in life…
except for those things of value, for which such convergences provide the only means of access.

crowd: n; 2. The illusion of consequence finds its proper home in a crowd.

despair: n; 2. Concerning the calculus of despair, we are all prodigies.

evil: n; 7. The greater good is always an incalculable evil which allows those who are not yet its victims to participate in it with a
clear conscience.

exhaustion: n; Exhaustion has always been more pleasurable, and more productive than vigor.

eyes: n; I prefer eyes that have seen too much, yet remain open.

grimace: n; 2. The only thing worse than to be born with an ineradicable grimace is to pass through life with an ineradicable smile.

health: n; 4. In sickness we are as close to our true health as we can bear— and this proximity adds the dimension of profundity to
our pain, thereby transforming it into suffering.

insanity: n; It is not the contents of a thought but how I regard a thought, that determines whether I am mad, or sane.

insufficiency: n; 3. All that we do, no matter how well, or how thoroughly, is insufficient. And so, we must go further.

intercession: n; Existential tourists, we search throughout a world that is not our own for signs of divine intercession.

life: n; Life is always qualified by as we know it. What will always interest me is life as I do not know it.

limitation: n; 11. Frustrated by his possible achievements, which are limited, man revels in his debasement, whose possibilities are

love: n; 17. Love takes you by the hand and leads you to the limit of life. A love that is true is a love that is intimate with death.
Needless to say, few are willing to know true love. But for those who are willing, for those who accept such intimacy— the
ecstasy and the anguish, the night and day of love— their love will be homeless. Driven further and further from the conventional
and the acceptable they are condemned to reject the supreme achievement of their love and must instead bear it as a tragedy.

malevolence: n; To envision one’s life as a rampart against a malevolent divinity is the necessary basis for every profound creative

measure: n; 5. I am precisely the time it takes for a man to end.

messiah: n; 4. Messianic expectation is a predictable consequence of consistent moral failure.

music: n; 2. The abyss, revealing itself through every breach in the surface of life, can be experienced as noise, or as music. A
musical score represents precisely how one must tear life, and where in the surface of being one must poke holes so that the
incomprehensible and possibly terrifying reality that underlies everything can be heard as something other than noise.

negation: n; 9. No is the only positive response to a negative proposition.

pathology: n; 2. It is not a supernatural achievement to know what another is thinking when that person is incapable of thought.

poet: n; 64. A poet can exist only in a place where something is demanded of poets. 65. The poet’s crime is celebrated as an achievement.
The more transgressions, the more celebrations, and the more difficult it is for the poet to acknowledge and accept what is criminal
amidst his success.

pretense: n; The uncommon hour regards the rest of the day as pretense.

punishment: n; 5. Punishment is a form of acceptance, perhaps the most sincere and exhaustive.

self: n; 8. When one battles for a prize that most will relinquish without a struggle, it should come as no surprise that the nature of one’s
battles are incommunicable. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the communication of such personal struggles is, in spite of
everything and everyone, not impossible.

shudder: v; When you hear the term common man it is wise to shudder, since it is the first rung on a two-rung ladder that leads from here
to hell.

solitude: n; 8. Solitude is the trajectory of thinking, but not its destination.

sterilization: n; Enforced socialization is more acceptable than sterilization and possibly more efficacious in achieving the same ends.

stigmata: n; To be defeated by a place that does not exist, to struggle against something inconsequential… and to fail— this is something
difficult to recover from. Furthermore, one’s recovery is thwarted by the fact that no one has any idea what you have been battling. The
wounds of one who has struggled in this way, if they are recognized at all, are more likely to be accepted as stigmata— a miraculous
explanation being always preferable to the immodesty of any consideration of their true basis

vanguard: n; An artist is never ahead of their time— it is only that most people take very small steps, and almost always to the side.





from The Uncommon Hour

(recent excerpts from A Personal Dictionary) 

Mike Schertzer, 2009