Sunday, July 30, 2006

from Childhood, Nathalie Sarraute, 1983:

-- Is that true? have you really not forgotten what it was like there? How everything there fluctuates, alters, escapes… you grope your way along, forever searching, straining… towards what? what is it? it’s like nothing else… no one talks about it… it evades you, you grasp it as long as it eventually finds some fertile ground where it can develop, where it can perhaps manage to live… My goodness, just thinking about it…

-- Yes, it makes you grandiloquent. I would even say, presumptuous. I wonder whether it isn’t still that same fear… Remember the way it returns whenever anything inchoate crops up… What remains with us of former endeavors always seems to have the advantage over what is still trembling somewhere in limbo…

-- That’s just it: what I’m afraid of, this time, is that it isn’t trembling… not enough… that it has become fixed once and for all, “a sure thing,” decided in advance…

-- Don’t worry about it having been decided in advance… it’s still vacillating, no written word, no word of any sort has yet touched it, I think it is still faintly quivering… outside words… as usual… little bits of something still alive… I would like… before they disappear… let me…

-- Right. I won’t say any more… and in any case, we know very well that when something starts haunting you…

-- Yes, and this time, it’s hardly believable, but it was you who prompted me, for some time now you have been inciting me…

-- I?

-- Yes, you, by your admonitions, your warnings… you conjure it up, you immerse me in it…

(Translated by Barbara Wright. George Braziller, 1984)

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