October 27, 2015

The author becomes a sort of walking dead

Larval Subjects . . Of Folds and Vortices - There is a time of writing that differs from the time of the text. The text is a thing. It is a machine that has come to stand in the world, that has ach...
Perhaps every author experiences this; a strange sort of dividuation that takes place as a result of the written. No doubt this is why the written has so often been associated with death. The author becomes a sort of walking dead, trapped as they are in the words she has inscribed or in the way she has preserved the flowing purport of thought made matter. Where writing is a verb, the unfolding of a thought that she has not yet thought, the written is the dead letter, fallen into matter and now present in the world. She has been dividuated by her writing. The author is always two. She is the writing, but also the written that persists after her. She is responsible for and before the written, yet also not it. She is responsible for what she has written, for she inscribed those things and made them actual in the world. “But you said this!” But already she is elsewhere in her writing and can scarcely even recall that she wrote this. Continuously she faces the question: “will I ever be equal to what I have written? Will I ever write so well again?” 
 It is easy to lose ones nerve, easy to experience terror before the dehiscence, the spaltung, that is writing and the written. How strange it is to come across your writing as a reader, having forgotten that you have written this, and to encounter your split, your being as the walking dead, before a text that you produced but don’t recall having produced. The time of the written is a time of waiting. One waits to see whether it will register in the world, whether it will exists, while also dreading that it will for already you are elsewhere, beyond the written, after the written, in writing.

"I also prefer it if the writer is dead, because then there is no little cloud of jealousy to darken my admiration."
Update, October 30: And here's a new essay by Pamuk on himself and his work, "Implied Author" ("To read a dense, deep passage in a novel, to enter into that world and believe it to be true - nothing makes me happier, nothing binds me more to life. I also prefer it if the writer is dead, because then there is no little cloud of jealousy to darken my admiration. The older I get, the more convinced I am that the best books are by dead writers.")

[can be read, and enjoyed, individually, they form two parts of a diptych; one compliments and buttresses the other]

Admiring the deserving among those living should be considered a bigger virtue and a duty than paying tributes to the dead, year after year. [TNM55]

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