Is it possible to make a Narrative (a Novel) out of the Present? How to reconcile – dialecticize – the distance implied by the enunciation of writing and the proximity, the transportation of the present experienced as it happens? (The present is what adheres, as if your eyes were glued to a mirror.) Present: to have your eyes glued to the page; how to write at length, fluently (in a fluent, flowing, fluid manner) with one eye on the page and the other on “what’s happening to me”?
This is actually to go back to that simple and ultimately uncompromising idea that “literature” (because, when it comes down to it, my project is “literary”) is always made out of “life”. My problem is that I don’t think I can access my past life; it’s in the mist, meaning that its intensity (without which there is no writing) is weak. What is intense is the life of the present, structurally mixed (there’s my basic idea) with the desire to write it. The “Preparation” of the Novel therefore refers to the capturing of this parallel text, the text of “contemporary”, concomitant life.
— Barthes, The Preparation of the Novel (tr. Briggs)