Monthly Archives: November 2012

These young directors who are coming up, they’re incredibly skilled. They know how to do the job. But it’s not so often that they really have anything to say.


Dusk dread

This old dusk dread, this fear of the no man’s land between day and night, will I ever be free of it? Will I ever surrender to it? The only thing that helps is to be with animals. I let the neighbour’s cat in through the window, let it purr on my lap, go and play with my friend’s excitable dogs. I walk down to the gypsies’ horses with apples. They roam free all year round on a littered field, the poor filthy beasts, they come trotting when they see me, we’re getting to know each other.

— Frenet, Journal

Nothing to say

I write to say the same thing over and over, as on a palimpsest. I write to confirm that I have nothing to say, or rather that all I have to say is nothing – that it’s nothing compared to the everyday. The everyday that this journal keeps me from and flirts with. The everyday that’s hidden in the ordinary, somewhere within or beyond ordinary life. Which trumps all. Which has no opinion of me.

— Frenet, Journal

To return to what is here

To return to what was here in the beginning, to what’s always been here, patient, indifferent, waiting. That’s what I seek in this journal. To end this journal, so I can begin to live. No: so that life can begin in me. But is this not living? No. This journal was a failure from the beginning, from before it began, it’s enmeshed in failure like a fish thrashing in a net. It should seek its own invisibility, its own never-having-been, as though it were being written in disappearing ink. To return to what was here, to what is here – impossible dream.

– Frenet, Journal


For Em.

April (1914)

For you I tear from my travel diary and copy out as a postscript to the insufficient letters I sent you these even more insufficient leaves. I was planning to complete and to perfect them; I cannot do so. While travelling, one notes down from day to day in the hope of recomposing these stories at leisure and of carefully retracing the landscapes on one’s return. Then one notices that all the art put into this work only manages to dilute the original emotion, of which the most naive expression will always be the best. Consequently I transcribe these notes just as they are, without sweetening their tartness. Alas! the days which were most completely filled with the liveliest emotions are also those of which nothing remains in this notebook, those when I had time only for living.

— Gide, Journal (tr. O’Brien)

I think one of the things you and I have to learn is that we have to live without the consolation of belonging to a Church… Of one thing I am certain. The religion of the future will have to be extremely ascetic, and by that I don’t mean just going without food and drink.


Any man who is half-way decent will think himself extremely imperfect, but a religious man thinks himself wretched.


If you and I are to live religious lives, it mustn’t be that we talk a lot about religion, but that our manner of life is different. It is my belief that only if you try to be helpful to other people will you in the end find your way to God.

— Wittgenstein

Not a theory

Christianity is not a doctrine, not, I mean, a theory about what has happened and will happen to the human soul, but a description of something that actually takes place in human life. For ‘consciousness of sin’ is a real event and so are despair and salvation through faith. Those who speak of such things are simply describing what has happened to them, whatever gloss anyone may want to put on it.


I Step Outside Myself

I step outside
myself, out of my eyes,
hands, mouth, outside
of myself I
step, a bundle
of goodness and godliness
that must make good
this devilry
that has happened.

— Ingeborg Bachmann

Most people want to dominate

Most people want to dominate. They fear the worst. But you can’t control anything in the least. You must surrender. It is only to the extent that one accepts the worst that one has anything relevant to say. But the more intensely inner reality is seen, the less possible its expression becomes.

— Bram van Velde (tr. Tweed and Roman)

The last man on earth

Strange to see the contents of my head strewn about here, as if they’d been dropped from a pocket and lay unnoticed, like obsolete objects. As if I myself were obsolete… If I were the last man on earth, if no one were ever to see these notes, would I go on writing them? But that’s precisely how one should write, as if one were the last person on earth, as if one were obsolete. What makes a wolf howl? What makes him stretch his neck and send his cry through the freezing air? Would he still howl if he were the last wolf on earth?

— Frenet, Journal