Tribute to Borges’ Garden of Forking Paths

“Time forks perpetually toward innumerable futures.” — Borges

Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash

This weekend I came across the coolest Reddit page. It showed a photo of a labyrinth dedicated to Jorge Luis Borges, author of a story called “The Garden of Forking Paths.”

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Borges. Public domain.

Naturally, any time I see something like this I want to share it.

The Garden of Forking Paths appeared in one of his early volumes of short stories titled Ficciones. ( Fictions) As I peruse the table of contents here my heart stirs with wonder at the quantity of incredible stories his imagination produced. If you’re a fan of this remarkable Argentine author you’ll be similarly stirred by titles like The Lottery in Babylon, The Circular Ruins, The Library at Babel and Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.

I’d planned to share this Borges-themed labyrinth yesterday when I unexpectedly received an article from a New York friend that included some Borges anecdotes which deserved to be shared here. The title of the article was A Visit to the Klippersonian . It’s about a globetrotting photographer named Stuart Klipper who collects things, both tangible and experiential. He’s not only an interesting story himself, but he has a lifetime of interesting stories to tell as well.

At one point his story intersects with Borges. Their meeting feels as spooky and unexpected as a Borges tale, more fate than luck. The net result is Klepper having an opportunity to host a visit by the world-renowned Borges to Minneapolis, where on the non-forking path along Minnehaha Falls there is a stature of Longfellow. They similarly visited the Walker Museum, making memories there as well.

And if all that is not enough, Klipper shares a few Dylan anecdotes that you’ve probably never heard before, for those who never tire of hearing another Dylan detail.

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Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash

Here is a link to The Garden of Forking Paths so that you may grasp why Borges has such a following.

In my youth I was fascinated with mazes and labyrinths, hence it was especially delightful and mentally stimulating to discover Borges. I’ve many times noted Borges has been one of my chief influences when it comes to writing fiction. In 2011 I assembled a half dozen in my first volume of short stories titled Unremembered Histories, my own attempt at Magical Realism.

The title of the book takes its name from my Unremembered History of the World, which in its own way treats the concept of time like a series of forking paths. You can read that one on Medium without purchasing anything. Feedback always welcome.

In closing, here is a very short piece by Borges, which like all his short pithy pieces is both pointed and properly rewarding: Inferno, I, 32

Have a great week.

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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