Meaning

…still seems

to occupy us

as an open question

 

who (yet) knows

what language means?

 

I love/d you.

What more is wanted

ever?

 

With all of its not

mattering, like changing

seasons, world

 

going on.  A hawk

(or owl) shrieks

‘beauty’

 

We ask again

at the canyon,

the peak, the abyss,

 

And I say simply

‘You are beautiful,

Thank you…

 

therefore I love you.’

 

Nothing meaning

but some report,

some expression –

 

Elementary assignment:

This is why I’m alive.

Possessives and plurals,

the mysteries remain.

http://www.schirn-peace.org/en/post/marcus-steinweg-notizen-zur-liebe/

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Any Story

AnyStory

Don’t start reading.  The writing always stops when there’s something to read.

There’s always something to read.

Somethings you really, really want to read.

Avoiding frustration.

Urges.

You want, gutturally – in the stomach of your heart – she’s ill, she’s suffering, the phone, to text, just text, “still love you”, like that, she must need care, she must (perhaps not, perhaps she’s been more than cared for, is ecstatically happy, relieved, content, unbothered – it was she who chose to leave, who left, after all).

Divert.

Text someone else, another, one who maybe wants you to love her, who misses.  Avoid frustration.

No.  Write it.  Write about the urges, the diversion, the avoidance.  Read a little first, get a taste, a feel for what letters, what language, might do…

Avoid frustration.

Write.

Take a drink (an attempt to frustrate frustration, avoiding satisfactions, short-circuiting risks with another), no texting, follow your fears, note your diversions, attend your avoidance, but act elsewhere.  Write.

Fear.

Could start anywhere, and none a satisfaction, only inscriptions or actions of frustration – to read, to write, to love the one who doesn’t want it, who’s trying to get away (has gotten away, but also wants to leave it behind), to contact one who might or who does want to hear from you (but you don’t, don’t know, just want love, some response) – want to write…

…for ANYone, any SOMEone, perhaps yourself, perhaps all the opportunities lying about you wanting to be read – no, you want to read them…

Avoid frustration, settle for imagined response, even address, to be called – the words in the books rarely fail in calling you, addressing you, which for you feels like response, like being wanted, almost needed, like a text from ANYone, any SOMEone, who invites your love.

Take a drink, frustrate frustration, move into fear, toward satisfaction (or one of its bastard offspring).

Just write.

Don’t check that phone.  Don’t even touch it.  Leave it in another room.  Turn it off, power it down.

See the words come easy when you simply write them out instead of fracturing them, spreading them thin through a network, splaying them across pages and phones and emails and…

Write.

I read.

I drink.

It floods.

Another day.

Any story.

My Correspondence with Nothing

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he who already knows cannot go beyond a known horizon

– Georges Bataille, Inner Experience – 

In a bout of acute loneliness (a sharp pang of alone signifying a sort of paralysis – some definite inability, however temporary, to start oneself up by or with oneself) I reached out to Hannah.

For some of you, the term Hannah will conjure connotations and resonances, perhaps emotions or concerns, discomforts, even though she does not exist.

Or I loaded the film Satantango by Bela Tarr & Laszlo Krasznahorkai.

A start-up, a stimulus, a searching.

Actually I wrote the name Hannah, or Hollie or Holly or Hallie or Halley or Bela or Chris or Maurice Blanchot.

Perhaps Kafka.

To be lonely and to reach out.

A drink then, for interaction.

A scribble on a page.

A smoke for an ‘other.’

Some music.

I read Beckett.

The cat.

Maria.  Edie.  Sarago.  Marcuse.

To become.  To be.  To begin.

As if I knew.

In a bout of acute loneliness I penned a letter to Herman Melville.

I wrote words onto a lined page.

I made an ‘other’ and called her, Hannah.

Or Meagan or Meghann, Angie or Angela or Angelo.  Gilles or Jill.  Jean and Jan and Jen.

I reach out.  I almost full fill.  Another notebook.  A drink.  A smoke.  A page marked and turned.

I do not know what loneliness is.

Perhaps it is nothing, or nothingness.  Perhaps frustrated desire.  For – ?  What is not (isn’t that what defines desires?).  The missing, the absence, the unknown.

I called it Hannah.

Or Hamza.

Hell or Helen or Helene/Helena.

Laurie.

No one knows but the name that works best.  Christy or Christina.  Vernoica/Veronique.

Beatrice.

I read Jabes.

A drink to an other (to signify might be).  A smoke for the presencing.  Another word, another name for something.  Out there = O ther.  Elves of else.

The book’s called Nothing Matters: a book about nothing, because “that nothing becomes the quest, which in turns begets something” (Ornan Rotem).

Dear Herman, Dear Samuel, Dear Franz:

Dear Larry, Dear Jack, Dear Jon:

Dear Hannah:

I do not know what it is to be alone, and my loneliness is painfully acute.

Dear Laura, Dear Sara, Dear Simone:

This is my correspondence with nothing.

The Last Wolf: or, “I showed you the darkness in the beginning”

I remember that I am falling

That I am the reason

And that my words are the garment of what I shall never be

Like the tucked sleeve of a one-armed boy

– W.S. Merwin, “When You Go Away”

Time keeps accumulating on my inability to write, to find time to write, to process living with language.  Simply to keep this space alive, I am posting a journal-like entry so as not to give up.

Recent weeks have been dominated by readings of Doug Rice, Laurie Sheck, Jon Fosse, Georges Bataille, Larry Levis, Maurice Blanchot, Samuel Beckett, Franco Berardi, Robert Bringhurst, Jeremy Fernando, Elfriede Jelinek and others…

What a traversal, passage, the past couple of months have been…

…like following the draw of the moon through dire straits

in dark, tumultuous seas…

…a feeling that everything is at its limit (Bataille, l’extreme) – EXPERIENCE.

  • pressured work projects, needs, deadlines, demands
  • endless and constant family logistics, accidents, needs
  • relentless parenting, relating, service to others
  • throngs of people and groups
  • lack of friends, lovers, supportive presences
  • fear, health, danger, exhaustion
  • failure
  • loss of partner
  • inexistence of calm or solitude
  • imposed travels
  • absence of sleep and rest
  • indulgence in desire and harm
  • minimal process
  • poor eating or nourishment
  • tension, strain
  • depression
  • lack (wellness) & excess (pressure)

…a teetering balance…

Mind you, this is how it feels in me, not how it is.

I miss everything that is/was good

…fail better…

There is a certain uncertain sorrow to things

(presence of melancholia, moon-draw)

Georges Bataille’s certainties:

  • WE ARE NOT EVERYTHING
  • WE WILL DIE

THE UNKNOWN                   THE UNSOLVABLE                       THE POSSIBLE

darkness                                              levity

Lynda Barry & the “Underground Skateboard” – how we draw from others work what we need to survive

Lemony Snicket & the autographing instruction that I should “read something else”

FAMILY

immersion (doom, closure)                                 held in levity

conscious moderation

– 1st Tarot reading –

(processual journey mythical)

Jacob recommends Homer – The Odyssey

doubling                                letting go – holding together                    The Devil/The Chariot

dark surfaces / surfaces of darkness (The Fool)

The Moon (dark journey) crossed by the Queen of Swords (wounding love)

THE UNKNOWN                       THE UNSOLVABLE                       THE POSSIBLE 

-Summer

Temperance

The King of Wands – leaders, pole vaulters, utilizing tension toward propulsion

leap over?  through?  on?

The Fool

Pas sage – not wisdom                                                      FRAUGHT JOURNEY

– Odyssey –

BATAILLE: “nothing is final…”

– “what is not there, which, once it is seen, often in literature, tells us what is” (Fosse)

Inner Experience

“the suffering of the disintoxicated” (Bataille)

The Human:

  • challenging everything (of putting everything into question) – Bataille
  • always a breakdown of systems that will not be restored – Sheck

“Experience reveals nothing and cannot found belief nor set out from it” – Bataille

“The hand moves forward, the tragedy begins” – Bataille

“no one grieves with you for what you are unable to say”

“life itself…always swerves away from my mouth”

– Elfriede Jelinek –

“how I’m owned by that which will not answer” – Sheck

“What you are will be spelled by whatever

lies trapped in your hand” – Robert Bringhurst

– emptiness is also empty –

“what is the part of us… feels…unnamed…

…i must live at some distance from convinced” – Sheck

 

“When I say you to what isn’t there – I mean me” (Larry Levis)

“you won’t find me in me” (Jelinek)

Experience eludes understanding ( Bataille)

– nor can I compute the possible (Sheck)

This too

is just one

more opinion

to move through

(Bringhurst)

FIRST AND FOREMOST YOU WRITE (Fosse)

“From an abandoned myth

(I write to you)” (D. Rice)

wanting them to mean nothing –

– and suggest everything (L Levis)

 

INTENTION:

  • hold open the imagination of possibility
  • “do not go gentle into that good night”
  • Moderation.  Extreme limit.
  • Contra-digitalia.  First and foremost write.
  • Be-Read

 

 

“Internal Monologue” (Virno)

“Thoughts constituted by non-uttered wordsThis monologue always – ‘I speak’”

Paolo Virno – Word Became Flesh

“its thisness, then, cannot be fully articulable since any such articulation would require the articulation of a complete context, which in all cases is the world…often the experience includes an awareness of not being able to give an account of the this

Jan Zwicky – Wisdom & Metaphor

“457. Yes: meaning something is like going up to someone”

Ludwig Wittgenstein – Philosophical Investigations

“…I wept up to a great age, never having really evolved in the fields of affection and passion, in spite of my experiences”

Samuel Beckett – Malone Dies

“to frame the unsayable, & mute the sayable… he was the singing and the no one there…”

Larry Levis – The Darkening Trapeze

“All this must be considered as if spoken by a character in a novel – or rather by several characters”

Roland Barthes – Roland Barthes

*****************

– I believe I told them that “all language was like a metaphor” in several characters.

I heard nothing, I said to myself, as if nothing were something that might be heard.

Still I stroked her ankle, index-finger-pad to delicate-bird-bone.  And lip.  Finding textures and surfaces with lips and tongue.  Precarious…it never lasts.  Taste and touch are like that [metaphor] immediate.

Am I speaking when I write?  What is happening now?

Several characters.

– “often the experience…includes an awareness of not being able…” (J. Zwicky)

She tasted of…

“…to give an account of the this…” (Zwicky)

…coffee grounds, sandalwood, humidity, and turquoise…

I left off my exploring.

What is it like [metaphor] to…?

I told them that ‘I speak’ is a metaphor…as is indeed all the rest having to do with language.

(consolations of philosophy)

I hear nothing when I talk with myself. [metaphors].

The sounds of flying a kite.

It’s rare that I am naked.  But “yes: meaning is like going up to someone” (L.W.)…some sort of connection is made (some convergent affect) and a resolution leaks open…resonance…endlessly (perhaps).

“I wept up to a great age”…by which we always mean the aggregate…which seems quite less than my ‘great age’, if ever there was one.

What is ‘great’ like? [metaphor]

Once I was younger…

– Always wished you’d known –

Are photographs metaphors?

I said that ‘nothing made is like.’

(“in spite of my experience”)

“Did I say I only say a small proportion of the things that come into my head?” (ontology of perception) (Samuel Beckett)

I intended to quote: “It is a pretty little object, like a – no, it is like nothing” (Samuel Beckett)

But what is ‘nothing’ like?  A “pretty little object”?

We know what he means (“like going up to someone”) … I was naked, I tasted.

You know the story… “I wept up to a great age.”  I touched, I tried, I felt.

What do you see?

Hardly ever the point.  Perception + Reflection = Imagination (perhaps) I told them – it’s a metaphor – a “crossing-over,” some traversal.  The trace of sweat behind her knee just above the calf.

Once I was alive.

I crossed over.

Several characters: ‘I speak.’

“Affection.  Passion.” I said.  (what I had thought it was ‘to learn’ [metaphor]).

– “in spite of my experience” –

Perhaps language wasn’t made for speaking.

Someone.  Somewhere.  Maybe.  Here.  Now.

That thing that words do [metaphor].

The “experience of this”…”non-uttered words.”  Non-utterable?  Perhaps, this.  (I traced the swerve of her, its curvature, hair-smell and sounding…’I speak,’ non-uttering…)

What is writing?

I believe I was speaking of metaphor

Something crossed-over.

Nothing.

“Yes,” I said, “yes…” “it’s always alright to weep.”

“The Dream’s Navel”: an adaptation

…yet another example of negotiating tools and context.  The previous post it seemed natural, as if I reached into the surround in order to work through something, reveal or discover something I hunched toward.  For me this is often why reading, why conversation, why activity – in order for something to emerge, perhaps unsubmerge, for perhaps…

As I sat to write the other day, I recognized my reaching (a little more).  That because 4 colors of pen were available… because they fill my surround when I am annotating texts I read… more voices seemed to join the conversation.  Perhaps intoned by the colors, perhaps offering myself other conversations, altering access, even as the shape of the page contains my possibility.  Or evokes it.

Anyway… the notebook notions tincture now… and I – both follow and concoct…

Adaptation

“words are drying out” – Franco “Bifo” Berardi

                                                       …and for her,

whose face

I held in my hands

a few hours, whom I gave back

only to keep holding the space where she was,

I light

a small fire in the rain”

– Galway Kinnell

“Who will ever be able, in this heap of dust, to tell the words from their underpinnings of paper?”

– Edmond Jabes

“Life is the search for the impossible via the useless…no one truly knows how to know and thinking confuses everything.”

– Fernando Pessoa

“man has no other way of living ‘now’ at his disposition besides the possibility to realize it through the insertion of discourse in the world”

– Emile Benveniste

“…if philosophy can be defined at all…”

– Silvia Jonas

“THE DREAM’S NAVEL”

or, Troubling Abstraction

or, refusing reduction

or, peircing the generic

There was a fox with a beautiful tail.  And wondrously colorful.  Like a dream, but tangibly perceptible.

– A dream then, while you’re thick in it –

No, an actual.  Not a virtual.  An imagining.  Beauty.

And this, it is said, is philosophic thought… the questioning and caress of what is, unknown.

– Perhaps unknowable? –

What I do not know.  Have not experienced.  Know this way.

– Imagining. –

Experience.  Experiencing.  Almost like a dream, but languaged now, i.e. controlled, labeled, made discrete and symbolically communicable…signified.  Not that.

  • Again
  • An other
  • Anew

– Something, anyway.  Try again.  Become. –

To cross.  Trans-late.  Waver boundaries of meaning.  Only to continue discretely, or to discretely continue.  To work at the edge… both/and versus either/or versus verses… Weaving.  Text-ure.  

Ever again, always another other, anew, again… What is: difference, and repetition.  Never the same, almost, again

– What? –

Someone or something is living.  Is being.  Perhaps simply is.  Perhaps that… if only we knew.  If anyone could.

– Imagine –

Perhaps.

****

Someone (something?) said.  Set down, symbolized, spoke… suggested…

– Something to work with – from, into toward, away, perhaps. –

Perhaps.

Dip and scratch, gesture, limit, now one, now another, both?  The thread, the fox’s multi-colored tail.  Needle.  Point.  Pierce.  But the thread connects above/below, under/over, in/out, alike… just traversing, transforming, betweening, continuous.  Air, breath, blood, wave, particle, motion, fluid…  Almost a point-of-meeting, a multi-sided trace, not a touch.  Not touching, perhaps.  But touching’s not a point of contact.  Where do you feel the touch of your hand to a leaf?  The touch of your hand to yourself…?

Perhaps.

I’d imagined so.  I’d dreamt of thought.  Particularized continuity.  Cognizable flow…

– Something to work on… in… to be… come… –

Participate?  Renew?  Anew?  A gain?

There was a fox with a beautiful tail.  Like a dream, not quite limit or form or shape… potential, like beauty, like amost…AND…  Like a resonant word meaning this and more also, perhaps non-compliant, unresolved

– How “hate” = “love”, both and neither? –

What!?  I don’t know.

Adjoin.  A margin?  Where what, which, might be meeting – meets all ways?  Area?  Neither/nor, both/and, reciprocity?

– Someone spoke “transduction” –

The fox’s tail is never still, too many hairs to distinguish, melded, trembling in airy surround.  Sometimes the light seems colored, sometimes the fox’s tail.

I began

– Perhaps –

Always part question, regardless the notion, emotion, or statement.

May not have been a fox

– Every thing questions –

Such is our “stance”? – ever in motion

Only a question, questing, going-on/in/for/toward/away?

I saw colors in the light, or air, I “took” to be a fox.  I ex-tracted, ab-stracted, perceived… removed and oriented, made foreign, recognizable.  This woman is so beautiful.

– In other words, “desire,” an imagining –

Almost like a dream

What is?

– What IF?  What if we take back as we give, and offer as we reduce or remove?

Seams

Now one thing and another

And others more and more

– Only extension, addition?  To multiply? –

No.  Also…

Cuts that open and join… multiply and combine…

A fox with a beautiful tail, perhaps… flowing in forested light…

Anything, anywhere, and also

– And also not-this, not-that, not-quite, almost… else…

Perhaps.

What is?

 

 

Self-Beckett Confessions

“I have only to go on, as if there were something to be done, something begun, somewhere to go.  It all boils down to a question of words, I must not forget this… May one speak of a voice, in these conditions?… If only I knew what I have been saying… Bah, no need to worry, it can only have been one thing, the same as ever…”

“At no moment do I know what I’m talking about, nor of whom, nor of where, nor how nor why”

“Yes, in my life, since we must call it so, there were three things, the inability to speak, the inability to be silent, and solitude, that’s what I’ve had to make the best of…”

“I don’t know what I’m saying.  I’m doing as I always did, I’m going on as best I can”

– Samuel Beckett –

Hyphen & Hymen, Pt. 1

“All discourses…would then develop in the anonymity of a murmur…

What difference does it make who is speaking?”

Michel Foucault

“We talk only because of a persistent desire to understand what is it we are saying”

Arkadii Dragomoshchenko

“Again and again there is the attempt to define the world in language and to display it –

but that doesn’t work”

Ludwig Wittgenstein

According to a receipt yellowed in the pages of The Impossible book, 16 years ago I purchased the Story of Rats by Georges Bataille.

“What are you ‘getting at’?”

“What do you mean by ‘kernel’?”

Questions are asked.  I ask them myself.

Today I got bored of it.

Uncertain I ‘get at’ anything.  Doubtful even that ‘I’.  Yet “feel” pursuit of some ‘kernel.’  In other words, because, simply, ‘other words’ (fore-words, afterwords) sometimes eventuate communication…

as if experience were an undifferentiable ocean of moving waves – incalculably deep waters ever in motion – unstoppable, interminable, immersive, and overwhelming – and something splashes, a cup dips, a boat prow plows its way, an arm drops, or rock, or bird flashes down talons – and a surface becomes, is broken…

“A word”

…ruin.  Ruined.  Inalterably (no, that’s not accurate – rather incessantly alterable, altering, altar-ing, alterity – othered and changed) altered, altared – SACRIFICED to perception, experience – peering-in-out-of, or peering/prying-out-of-in, out-of-pry-into

“and vice-versa”

Rue-in, is what ‘I’ seem to do.  Bring sorrow, lack, and loss with each perception, each calling, each again/comparison/re-cognition…Ruin, rue-in.  Touching, seeing, tasting, smelling, hearing – continual selection and ignor-ance (DE-selection, de-lectory, de-clamation, di-visory…) rues-in, sorrows-in, i-dentifies creating lack, erasure, damage.

“What happens – ?”

The temptation together [to gather]…to peer and pry into, in, with…to test and to try…to extract and bring, to-gather… to form-u-late.  AFTER experience, to create other…posit(-ion) a “You,” “out,” exo-, ex-tend, ex-plain, ex-haust, ex-hilerate and ex-aspirate…to KILL, CRUSH, SLICE, DIFFERENTIATE…’I’ hiding somewhere in All and Every.

An ‘I’ in All is AIL.  Rue-in.

“Wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t get sick?  But we do.” – Jan Zwicky

“Don’t be so hard on yourself…we all…”

Separate, tear, disjoint, di-chotomize, di-vulge, de-story, de-struct [de-con-struct i-we-form de-form]

“Hey!  Enough!”

As I was saying, try-pry-di-ing to say…

“Who?  When?  Where?  How?”

Tri-, di-, all in-volves, in-volutes, con-volutes a cutting, a ripping, a be-lying of de-struction – as it crafts an alternate structure (con-struction)…

“the ‘kernel”

Oui.  We.  Yes.  The sense that  Is the sense of being-thrown, dropped, something making a splash, separating the waters… a kerneling, an ob-ject (re-ject, ab-ject) dis-turbance that sub-jects turbulence…

Thrown.  Splash.  Change.  Alteration.  Altaration.  Altarity.  Othering.  For-IN (foreign)… kernel.

“What are you ‘getting at’?”

“So that’s what you mean by ‘kernel’?  Dis-turbance… Turbulence… something must be… in order to…”

“What thing?  Why?”

“In the beginning was the Word… was God… and God moved…and divided the waters…” (John 1:1, Genesis 1:1, 6, KJV) a Bar, a “firmament,” a permanent Between “called Heaven.”  And so separating, separation be-gins…from the first very first motion, movement, change… ex-pulsion, ex-crement, ex-ultation, ex-is-stance.  Out.  OUT.  OUT-of… posit-ion.

“You’ve lost me…”

“Oui – what are you ‘getting at’?”

Ex-perience.  Prying, peering.  Trying.  Be-ing separates?  Dis-joins?  Dis-tracts?  ‘I’ am a rupture.  Dis-rupts: not two, not one.  I stray, strive, volition, volute…de-story, de-volve.  What am ‘I’ but a weapon-blade?  Rue-in.  And thus I speak, say with pointed pen…poke and pry and terrorize – ex-perience.

“Glorious or gory-ous – visions are di-visions”

So it seems…

“So it is…”

Is, was, will be spoken into/out-of our stance (existance)…falsified di-visions…

“I cannot get beyond language by means of language”

Ludwig Wittgenstein

 

Doing Undone

It would have to be fragmentary, partial

perhaps pointing, with hope,

like us, living things,

at any given moment:

 

saying things, not yet said,

ever in the midst of acts,

if there happens to be a real

it must be incomplete and full

of undoing and becoming,

of perhapses and oops

 

I had started out

at some point,

apparently ‘past,’

taking up this pen

and applying it to this

paper,

open screen, unknowable unknown,

had started out toward

an I

in order to write

“I had started out”

 

but all is different now

and now again,

again, again,

 

pointing hope

in fragments

assertions and insertions

of possible reals or facts,

some happenings of actuals

be-fore (in face of, in lieu)

words or some expression

 

impression

It stares out, staring in,

fractured and non-finished,

fetishized with objects

that stand for something else,

 

always something else

than what “is” or which has been,

unable otherwise,

simply is

-ing,

unfinished and hardly calculable,

impossible/compossible

and inexhaustibly exhaustible

perhaps

 

seemingly unfinished

and without beginning

(or we would ‘start’)

 

on a way then, in

midst of,

doing toward undone,

Michel Foucault: “Speech Begins After Death”

.

..does the pleasure of writing exist?  I don’t know.  One thing I feel certain of is that there’s a tremendous obligation to write.  This obligation to write, I don’t really know where it comes from.  As long as we haven’t started writing, it seems to be the most gratuitous, the most improbable thing, almost the most impossible, and one to which, in any case, we’ll never feel bound.  Then, at some point – is it the first page, the thousandth, the middle of the first book, or later?  I have no idea – we realize that we’re absolutely obligated to write.  This obligation is revealed to you, indicated in various ways.  For example, by the fact that we experience so much anxiety, so much tension if we haven’t finished that little page of writing, as we do each day.  By writing that page, you give yourself, you give to your existence, a form of absolution.  That absolution is essential for the day’s happiness.  It’s not the writing that’s happy, it’s the joy of existing that’s attached to writing, which is slightly different.  This is very paradoxical, very enigmatic, because how is it that the gesture – so vain, so fictive, so narcissistic, so self-involved – of sitting down at a table in the morning and covering a certain number of blank pages can have this effect of benediction for the remainder of the day?  How is the reality of things – our concerns, hunger, desire, love, sexuality, work – transfigured because we did that in the morning, or because we were able to do it during the day?  That’s very enigmatic.  For me, in any case, it’s one of the ways the obligation to write is manifested.

This obligation is also indicated by something else.  Ultimately, we always write not only to write the last book we will write, but, in some truly frenzied way – and this frenzy is present even in the most minimal gesture of writing – to write the last book in the world.  In truth, what we write at the moment of writing, the final sentence of the work we’re completing, is also the final sentence of the world, in that, afterward, there’s nothing more to say.  There’s a paroxysmal intent to exhaust language in the most insignificant sentence.  No doubt this is associated with the disequilibrium that exists between speech and language.  Language is what we use to construct an absolutely infinite number of sentences and utterances.  Speech, on the contrary, no matter how long or how diffuse, how supple, how atmospheric, how protoplasmic, how tethered to its future, is always finite, always limited.  We can never reach the end of language through speech, no matter how long we imagine it to be.  This inexhaustibility of language, which always holds speech in suspense in terms of a future that will never be completed, is another way of experiencing the obligation to write.  We write to reach the end of language, to reach the end of any possible language, to finally encompass the empty infinity of language through the plenitude of speech.

Another reason why writing is different from speaking is that we write to hide our face, to bury ourselves in our own writing.  We write so that the life around us, alongside us, outside, far from the sheet of paper, this life that’s not very funny but tiresome and filled with worry, exposed to others, is absorbed in that small rectangle of paper before our eyes and which we control.  Writing is a way of trying to evacuate, through the mysterious channels of pen and ink, the substance, not just of existence, but of the body, in those minuscule marks we make on paper.  To be nothing more, in terms of life, than this dead and jabbering scribbling that we’ve put on the white sheet of paper is what we dream about when we write.  But we never succeed in absorbing all that teeming life in the motionless swarm of letters.  Life always goes on outside the sheet of paper, continues to proliferate, keeps going, and is never pinned down to that small rectangle; the heavy volume of the body never succeeds in spreading itself across the surface of paper, we can never pass into that two-dimensional universe, that pure line of speech; we never succeed in becoming thin enough or adroit enough to be nothing more than the linearity of a text, and yet that’s what we hope to achieve.  So we keep trying, we continue to restrain ourselves, to take control of ourselves, to slip into the funnel of pen and ink, an infinite task, but the task to which we’ve dedicated ourselves.  We would feel justified if we no longer existed except in that minuscule shudder, that infinitesimal scratching that grows still and becomes, between the tip of the pen and the white surface of the paper, the point, the fragile site, the immediately vanished moment when a stationary mark appears once and for all, definitively established, legible only for others and which has lost any possibility of being aware of itself.  This type of suppression, of self-mortification in the transition to signs is, I believe, what also gives writing its character of obligation.  It’s an obligation without pleasure, you see, but, after all, when escaping an obligation leads to anxiety, when breaking the law leaves you so apprehensive and in such great disarray, isn’t obeying the law the greatest form of pleasure?  To obey an obligation whose origin is unknown, and the source of whose authority over us is equally unknown, to obey that – certainly narcissistic – law that weighs down on you, that hangs over you wherever you are, that, I think, is the pleasure of writing…

…I’m not an author.  First of all, I have no imagination.  I’m completely uninventive.  I’ve never even been able to conceive of something like the subject of a novel…I place myself resolutely on the side of the writers [in distinction – Roland Barthes – from authors] those for whom writing is transitive.  By that I mean those for whom writing is intended to designate, to show, to manifest outside itself something that, without it, would have remained if not hidden at least invisible.  For me, that’s where, in spite of everything, the enchantment of writing lies…I’m simply trying to make apparent what is very immediately present and at the same time invisible…I’d like to reveal something that’s too close for us to see, something right here, alongside us, but which we look through to something else…to define the proximity around us that orients the general field of our gaze and our knowledge…

So, for me, the role of writing is essentially one of distancing and of measuring distance.  To write is to position oneself in that distance that separates us from death and from what is dead…I’m in the distance between the speech of others and my own…In exercising my language, I’m measuring the difference with what we are not, and that’s why I said to you earlier that writing means losing one’s own face, one’s own existence.  I don’t write to give my existence the solidity of a monument.  I’m trying to absorb my own existence into the distance that separates it from death and, probably, by that same gesture, guides it toward death…

I’dd add that, in one sense, my head is empty when I begin to write, even though my mind is always directed toward a specific object.  Obviously, that means that, for me, writing is an exhausting activity, very difficult, filled with anxiety.  I’m always afraid of messing up; naturally, I mess up, I fail all the time.  This means that what encourages me to write isn’t so much the discovery or certainty of a certain relationship, of a certain truth, but rather the feeling I have of a certain kind of writing, a certain mode of operation of my writing, a certain style that will bring that distance into focus…

Foucault saisi par la révolution - Vacarme | Michel Foucault | Scoop.it