Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bloggers of the No

Apropos of this post, Aimée asked me about this "bloggers of the No" business. I replied that the novel I'd just finished, Enrique Vila-Matas' Bartleby & Co., is all about writers who refuse to write, writers who have stopped writing, and so on. "If they've stopped writing, how are they still writers?" Ha! I paused before saying something vague to the effect that it had to do with the Blanchot and Heidegger I'd been reading. Ugh. Forgive me for the glibness of this answer. I was tired and fading fast and unsure how much to say before falling asleep. Which is not to say that the Blanchot and Heidegger is not related. But the point I would have tried to get across, were I more awake and able to find the words, is that it's all related, all that I've been writing about here. But this is somehow still unacceptable.

My next post was a passage from Vila-Matas' Montano's Malady. Lloyd Mintern commented that the book has been "as much an influence on [his] personal history, as when [he] first read Alain Robbe-Grillet". I feel I know what he means. Though my reading of Montano's Malady was far from ideal. It took me three (very) sleepy weeks--a long time for a short book--so it was choppier than I would have liked. Even so, I found much to like in the book, as in Bartleby & Co. But more than anything, they made me think of my own problems writing--my own refusals. I feel an urge to write about this, along with a strong reluctance to do so. A voice tells me that I shouldn't write about this, shouldn't blog about it, shouldn't give in to the solipsistic impulse. (I know, it's a blog.) I've gotten away from writing whatever it is I was writing, in favor of writing about myself in terms of the books I'm reading. Or so it seems. Maybe it's just my imagination. I think it's that writing about this enables me to write about other things--existence, politics even. It's that, reading what I've been reading, the Vila-Matas books mentioned above and, of course, Proust and Beckett, I recognize possibilities. I recognize myself, in some sense.

Sometimes it seems easier to just stop--it comes so slowly, and I'm so often so tired. But I still feel that need to get something across, to myself if no one else.

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