書抄 #14

25 Nov, 13 at 10:53am © CL LEE

I don’t remember if we had dinner.
I don’t remember what we did between the time we left the canal by the German factory until the time we went to bed.
I do remember there was a kind of tranquillty stretching all over the sea and over us.
That night you didn’t go out roaming the big hotels and the hills. You stayed in. I went to bed.
Your body and mine were enclosed in the same space. You always fell asleep before I did, you slept well. That always reassured me, because night brought you oblivion of the life you led with me and that you wanted to give up.

And then I woke. I called you, you didn’t answer. So I got up. I went to your door and called out; perhaps you were asleep, I don’t know, it didn’t occur to me. In the end you said, “What is the matter?” I said I wanted to tell you it wasn’t enough to write well or badly, to create writings that are beautiful or even very beautiful, it wasn’t enough any longer to produce a book that people read to satisfy a personal and communal appetite. And it wasn’t enough to write like that, either — to make people to believe it was done without thought, merely by following your hand; just as it was too much to write simply with the mind in charge, supervising the activity of madness. It’s not enough — philosophy and morals and ordinary examples of the human race (what about dogs, for example?) are not enough, they don’t get through to the body that’s reading the story and wants to know the story right from the start, and that with every reading is ignorant of more than it was ignorant of already.

And I said one ought to write without making corrections, not necessarily at full tilt, no, but at one’s own pace and in accordance with what one is experiencing at the time; one ought to eject what one writes, manhandle it almost, yes, treat it roughly, not try to trim profusion but let it be part of the whole, and not tone down anything either, whether its speed or its slowness, just leave everything as it is when it appears.

– Marguerite Duras. Emily L. Trans. Barbara Bray. New York: Pantheon, 1989. p. 111-112.

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