on writing

I only take my pen when I feel I cannot do otherwise. Up to that point, I resort to all sorts of ruses to avoid giving in to the words, to the claims of the blank page.

One day, I know, I shall not write any more. This certainty makes me tremble with fear and be glad, as on the threshold of deliverance.

I do not ask what will become of me without writing. I know when I no longer write I shall die.

How could one be dead and still live on towards death? The body is a mystery: universe and tomb, the universe of a tomb and the tomb of a universe. Skin does not bound the body.

What I write takes me (along the same road, but as if retracing my steps) to what I shall not write, into the night.

Have you asked yourself, on publishing a book, what the “acheve d’imprimer” could mean, if not your legal death certificate from the typographer?

A banal death. How many times have I died? There was a last book that wanted to be received as such. Have I always written on its yellowed pages?
– The Book of Remembrances by Edmond Jabès.

I stumbled on this passage yesterday and wonder how many writers feel this way. Parts of it resonate with me. What about you? (I haven’t read the book – this came from an article in a special issue on Jabès: Studies in 20th Century Literature, vol. 12, no. 1.)

2 thoughts on “on writing

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