Monthly Archives: August 2009

Something gone wrong with the silence

Oh I did not say it in such limpid language. And when I say I said, etc., all I mean is that I knew confusedly things were so, without knowing exactly what it was all about. And every time I say, I said this, or, I said that, or speak of a voice saying, far away inside me, Molloy, and then a fine phrase more or less clear and simple, or find myself compelled to attribute to others intelligible words, or hear my own voice uttering to others more or less articulate sounds, I am merely complying with the convention that demands you either lie or hold your peace. For what really happened was quite different. And I did not say, Yet a little while, at the rate things are going, etc., but that resembled perhaps what I would have said, if I had been able. In reality I said nothing at all, but I heard a murmur, something gone wrong with the silence, and I pricked up my ears, like an animal I imagine, which gives a start and pretends to be dead.

— Beckett, Molloy

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A ‘biographical’ note by William Burroughs

I have no past life at all being a notorious plant or ‘intrusion’ if you prefer the archaeological word for an ‘intruded’ artefact. I walk in passport was allegedly born St. Louis, Missouri, more or less haute bourgeois circumstances – that is he could have got in the St. Louis Country Club because at that time nobody had anything special against him but times changed and lots of people had lots of things against him and he got his name in the papers and there were rumours of uh legal trouble. Remember? I prefer not to. Harvard 1936 AB. Nobody ever saw him there but he had the papers on them. Functioned once as an exterminator in Chicago and learned some basic principles of ‘force majeure’. He achieved a state of inorganic matter in Tanger with chemical assistants. Resuscitated by dubious arts he travelled extensively in all directions open to him.

In any case he wrote a book and that finished him. They killed the author many times in different agents concentrated on the road I pass, achieving thereby greyhounds, menstrual cramps and advanced yoga to a distance of two feet legitimate terrain… And never the hope of ground that is yours

william seward burroughs

Language opens like the day itself

 Zoon logon echon: for the Greeks, it is the ability to talk discursively, to speak, that marks out the human being as the human being. But for the human being, language is not a tool but a condition: one speaks not with a language but from it. We inhabit language — or rather language inhabits us. Language is not a tool that would offer itself to be used, but a field that opens through us and opens the world to us, determining what it is possible for us to say and not to say. But it is, for this reason, never the “object” of our awareness. It dissimulates itself, except at those moments when the capacity to express oneself comes to crisis. Language opens like the day itself, granting a world to the human being — but furled in this opening and opening with it is the dim awareness that something has come between the human being and the rest of nature.

Lars Iyer

Stupidity

Molloy and what followed became possible the day I became aware of my stupidity. Then I began to write the things I feel.

— Beckett, quoted here.

The true ciphers

To know nothing is nothing, not to want to know anything likewise, but to be beyond knowing anything, to know you are beyond knowing anything, that is when peace enters in, to the soul of the incurious seeker. It is then the true division begins, of twenty-two by seven for example, and the pages fill with the true ciphers at last. But I would rather not affirm anything on this subject.

— Beckett, Molloy

That far whisper

And if I went on listening to that far whisper, silent long since and which I still hear, I would learn still more, about this. But I will listen no longer, for the time being, to that far whisper, for I do not like it, I fear it. But it is not a sound like the other sounds, that you listen to, when you choose, and can sometimes silence, by going away or stopping your ears, no, but it is a sound which begins to rustle in your head, without your knowing how, or why. It’s with your head you hear it, not your ears, you can’t stop it, but it stops itself, when it chooses. It makes no difference therefore whether I listen to it or not, I shall hear it always, no thunder can deliver me, until it stops.

– Beckett, Molloy

The centre

A book, even a fragmentary one, has a centre which attracts it. This centre is not fixed, but is displaced by the pressure of the book and circumstances of its composition. Yet it is also a fixed centre which, if it is genuine, displaced itself, while remaining the same and becoming always more hidden, more uncertain and more imperious.

— Blanchot, The Space of Literature (trans. A. Smock)