The writer’s mastery

The writer’s mastery is not in the hand that writes, the ‘sick’ hand that never lets the pencil go – that can’t let it go because what it holds it doesn’t really hold; what it holds belongs to the realm of shadows, and it is itself a shade. Mastery always characterises the other hand, the one that doesn’t write and is capable of intervening at the right moment to seize the pencil and put it aside. Thus mastery consists in the power to stop writing, to interrupt what is being written, thereby restoring to the present instant its rights, its decisive trenchancy.

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


One response to “The writer’s mastery

  1. There is between sleep and us something like a pact, a treaty with no secret clauses, and according to this convention it is agreed that, far from being a dangerous, bewitching force, sleep will become domesticated and serve as an instrument of our power to act. We surrender to sleep, but in the way that the master entrusts himself to the slave who serves him […] Our capacity to withdraw from everyday bustle, from daily concerns, from everything, from ourselves and even from the void is the sign of our mastery, an entirely human proof of our sangfroid.

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

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