Maira Kalman

The Principles of Uncertainty

“How can I tell you Everything in my Heart? Impossible to Begin. Enough. No Begin.”

With the impossible task of emptying her heart, artist Kalman begins The Principles of Uncertainty. This collection of drawings and writings from a curious, observational mind is equally soothing and engaging.

Kalman has illustrated so many books, several New Yorker collections and my favorite, a wildly delightful update of the classic The Elements of Style. She writes simply, vigorously and clearly. She says familiar things: “My brain is exploding. Trying to make sense out of nonsense, trying to tell you everything.” Her illustrations are playful yet complex. I love her books.

I have a place in my heart for those who walk about through their worlds, observe and call proudly “Notice this!” For instance, Marianne Moore’s poetry and Oliver Sack’s end of life reminiscences.

By drawing things immediate and intimate, Kalman emphasizes the rotational change of humanity. She connects disparate things. She shows us that above all we are all intimately connected. That much is certain.