Where would I go, if I could go, who would I be, if I could be, what would I say, if I had a voice, who says this, saying it’s me? Answer simply, someone answer simply. It’s the same old stranger as ever, for whom alone accusative I exist, in the pit of my inexistence, of his, of ours, there’s a simple answer. It’s not with thinking he’ll find me, but what is he to do, living and bewildered, yes, living, say what he may. Forget me, know me not, yes, that would be the wisest, none better able than he.
— Becket, Texts for Nothing 4
He is perhaps the purest writer who has ever written. There is nothing there but the writing itself.
— Burroughs on Beckett
The farther he goes the more good it does me. I don’t want philosophies, tracts, dogmas, creeds, ways out, truths, answers, nothing from the bargain basement. He is the most courageous, remorseless writer going and the more he grinds my nose in the shit the more I am grateful to him. He’s not fucking me about, he’s not leading me up any garden path, he’s not slipping me a wink, he’s not flogging me a remedy or a path or a revelation or a basinful of breadcrumbs, he’s not selling me anything I don’t want to buy – he doesn’t give a bollock whether I buy or not – he hasn’t got his hand over his heart. Well, I’ll buy his goods, hook, line and sinker, because he leaves no stone unturned and no maggot lonely. He brings forth a body of beauty. His work is beautiful.
— Pinter on Beckett
Many of Beckett’s friends were horrified to see how simply he was living and felt that he could and should enjoy more comfort and more luxury. By this time productions of his plays throughout the world had made him into a rich man and he could certainly have afforded the most expensive nursing home or private nursing care. Yet the room reflected the austerity with which he had always lived. And it was by no means sordid. He was comfortable there. He had no need for luxury, he protested. The staff were very kind, looking after his welfare and carrying his meals through to his room, because he found it too depressing to eat with the other old people.
— Knowlson, Damned to Fame
Such inertia and void as never before. I remember an entry in Kafka’s diary. ‘Gardening. No hope for the future.’ At least he could garden. There must be words for it. I don’t expect ever to find them.
— Beckett, letter (in Knowlson, Damned to Fame)