About the Book
Tiny and dense moments from Zia Hassan. From the author: "I'm sitting in a hot tub in Tucson, Arizona. My head is back against the edge of the tub, and my eyes are aimed into the sky like canons. I can see a panorama of stars. I'm staring up into the sky, when all of my sudden my brain flips: now, I'm hanging upside down, with gravity belting me in, facing down at the stars. It's very real. I recall some science facts. The earth has no real orientation, and in this spherical bliss I realize that my new perception is still the correct one. I'm just the same right side up as I am right side down. The "brain flip" is magical. It happens when you look at an optical illusion, or when you concentrate on a word and its letters start to become foreign objects and the sound of the word starts to detach from its meaning. This book comes from a series of "brain flips." The plan was this: every day, I paint something. No pre-planning. I start from scratch the way a chef does: a cutting board, a knife, a mixing bowl, olive oil, and perhaps some onions and garlic. I look through the fridge for leftovers. I re-design and re-purpose the leftover beans and rice for new meals. I have no idea where it starts or ends. I've only ever made grilled cheese and ramen. I'm done when it tastes right. When the painting is complete, I write four lines. Four lines is just enough; it's the number of seasons in a year, the number of multiple choice answers on a standard multiple choice question, the exact number of Ninja Turtles, and the number of quarter notes in a standard 4/4 measure. In four lines, there's just enough room for a story to be told. Within four lines, a whole galaxy can be discovered."