Danielle Collobert; Notebooks 1956 -1978 [I]

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1956

June

Mountains above Sacro Monte — light air — light curves of
red mountains scraped white wounds — deep — a song — far
away —high toward the horizon. The heat disperse little by
little — fatigue — anachronistic foreground — telephone poles
crossing in front of the etrance to the caves —

***

Grenada — the forge
el yunque — the anvil — peaceful sound — regularity of the
blows — hammer — sound of metal — the rhythm intense,
powerful — dark workshop — hanging on the walls — straps
— twisted iron bars — metal shapes — so many shapes — piles
of chain — ploughshares — horseshoes — the giant human
form unfurling and striking —  movement of the light — the
smell —

***

St. Brieuc — 5 a.m. in the station
— one of my earliest memories — on the grass, under a tree
— filling my clogs with apples and grass — coldness of the
grass — sharp smell of overripe cider apples — dampness —
but a lot of light — sunlight of course —
— they come back making more than a little noise — pass in
front of my table — they’re going to sit by the stove that
doubles as a heater — their faces red from the cold — dark
clothes — back pack or sailor’s duffel —
cold — hardly any stove heat — everything freezing here —
light from elongated beveled glass sconces — behind the bar —
light flickers — greenish —
— by the door — on the track the end of a black railroad car
— all alone on the rails — white blot of fruit crates — by the
barred window —
they’re talking loudly — hoarse — pathetic — about
everything — work — they’re tired already — or — I am —
— wating — is long — and alone —

 

1957

February

“…short, unlikely moment — crazy interval — shock at
becoming conscious of this obstacle that preceded everything —
attached to the obstacle — not an obstacle — not even a break-
down — real fear — of the emptiness — nothingness —
fear stronger than anything — I’m putting in time — just put-
ting in time — like the rest of the world”

April Rostrenen

I hear banging in the distance — in the silence of the country-
side — calm — and little sounds —

June

No preoccupation with making something of my life — take
the moments as they come — filled by everything going on
around me — unclear —

to Renee—
“I’m working or at least trying but thinking at times it’s not
worth it — so I go to sleep — wake up with a start — try to
make up lost time — all that leads to nothing — maybe because
it’s too hot — because the heaviness comes in through the win-
dows and doors, it’s crushing, immobilizing, and above all
because I don’t want anything — just right now a slowed-down
life, as slowed-down as possible, but it has to go on forever,
with no goal, no future —
I’m giving in to the heat, to sleep…”

September

It’s because of the music — Behind that sensation there’s a
shapeless distance, a strange world — I can’t grasp, it escapes
me each time at the end of the melody — the note — Want to
make the images coherent — express that —

November — Porte de Vincennes

I was afraid — along the wall — all of a sudden — afraid of
being closed in — not free to walk — unable to breathe the air
— strange —

November

“Seven o’clock and she is alone on the beach, surrendering to
the vast sand curve, to the biting wind pearling her skin. She is
walking toward the water. In its retreat, it leaves her tidepools
of shells. She rolls in them, gets up lustrous with mica and
pearl…”

December

Why write that this room is yellowish-gray — that I’m dozing
through all this nonexistence — that only at moments the noise
of wind in the flue…?
Alone —
Write?  make sentences? still…

December

Death — my death — certain — but factitious attempt at
representation — but fruitless — Where I get to: at most a re-
ally brutal sensation of my body — Sensation that comes back
more and more often these days — Idea of death — very
healthy of one can still speak of “health“ at that point.

 

1958

January

Navy  — here — clarity gone — like just now — Impression I
had of B. is blurry like the other night — Important afternoon —
the time to choose or reject — face today really clearly — more
than usual — I’m cold and tired — too much coffee and too
many cigarettes — aches like cramps in my back — Would like
to relax — let go a little — free —

                                                                                                    Feb. child —

March

To hear someone say the name of a city is enough to make the
space calm down a little, the time transforms — get to leave
maybe — need such courage because of morning, waking up —
the meeting in the street — errand — and constant jostling —
each morning the same movements — as if my body starts to
come apart after just beginning to mend in sleep — dive in dif-
ferently each day —

June

Navy — I’m about to investigate — how important — writing
something — anything — I am tense — “worthy“ work —
dumb — because of the others —
If I lived in the provinces it would be amid hostility — here —
not even — too isolated maybe —

October

Waiting for B. — I imagine him — his arrival — waiting — the
worst —

October

Navy — people —
G. looking at me — he’s with people — complicity in our look
— smiling — What am I waiting for? I’m waiting for B. — I’m
going to telephone C. for no reason —
He’ll come or not — indifference — reassuring — when I have
a room I don’t know if that will change sthg — hanging out till
midnight — anxious about the last metro to take —
There are dreams where I’m thrown away stupidly and I bite
at them —
G. speaking — nice voice. Two Americans beside — sticking
— Carlos — pleasant smile — pout —
“Padirac” — next to me they’re talking about Padirac —
lyrics—
Want to see B. — more —
Roussilon — smiling completely on the outside — for
nothing —
Alone — don’t want to be alone —
If I could leave — sthg powerful in the future — idiotic no-
tion, powerful — hardly —other possibility — setting
In the mirror opposite — I’m 18 —
“We had set out on a freighter. Travelling slowly. Repeated
stops in ports that look alike…”

December

I’m not managing to say what I realized just now walking
alone on the Contrescarpe — deserted streets — I felt myself
completely walking, alone — Already false — not a question of
solitude — it has to do with the sensation of my existing in that
moment — I’m living it — completely

 

1959

January

Strange a year later to have the same point of reference in the
same situation — easier maybe for making chance —
I’m waiting — but stiff — less fluctuation — no more enery,
you could say — but nothing for a year — still here — stuck? —
indisputable loss of time —
Still not separated from lots of silly stuff — I should be
somewhere else — no strings —
Absurdity of the violence of waiting —
Waiting on planning — even sillier —

February

This afternoon a strange phenomenon — rid of the weight of
dependence on B. — I felt it in the early afternoon — through
the severance of the universe of this house from the life of other
days —
Imagining the life of others — people I know — B.s — voice
— movements words — even exactly when I speak to my own
mother — that made me uncomfortable — since yesterday want
to run away — uneasiness —
And then toward the late afternoon — the concerto — first a
brutal memory of the night at his place — moments so present
— and then during the concerto I only heard the music.  At the
end — kind of existence of it completely outside me — free –
strange feeling — feeling of being alone again — no more desire
to be somewhere other than here — suddenly being transport-
able anywhere — without any gimmicks —

February

What I wrote yesterday about the concerto — Today its pres-
ence — relapse — no— difference — shattering — no more
waiting — calm —simply tranquil pleasure seeing him — over
— “liquid / ation“ — (water)*

March

For some time — nearly always lost in the outside — I engage
with everything — with people — I no longer feel myself in the
moment — not looking at things —
The frame has less and less importance —
Meanwhile I want to go to the Gare Montparnasse — music —
Gare Montparnasse — at times waves of people appear —
barely time to see them — noise of trains behind the ticket
counters — people sticking to me again — I am not getting to
feel anything — like loss of a little lucidity — irony — No
longer enough feeling of solitude — lassitude —

April

my life — confused noise here — and down deep — not
saying things simply like before — but simple to say — where
I’m going — to say — what is there —

***                                                              

Weird visions — for an hour I’ve been dreaming of macabre
processions — cold vaults massive arches — queasiness —

May

extraordinary — someone in the city is thinking of me —
called to the phone — get there too late — who? — doubts —
desires — idiot —

June

Need what — sun and shadow on their faces — handsome
faces — clear bright looks — not disrupting — no uneasiness —

***

At the Terminus — one night
“First night of total release blended with looks with surface
gestures — Seamless connections of knowledge, of near
absolute understanding, faultless, of a smile, of a word.
The schedule kicks in mid-flight, returning the rhythm of day
and night, of a familiar convention opposed only by the desire
not to — instant guilt at the margins of the normal, the
reassuring —
So I set off on a tangent, from an unbroken sleep, into the rain
and lively gusting wind; and the words, and the unformed
phrases slide into tight folds of sorrow, tragic, transparent; and
finally, in the bright neon, on the bright pavement, they gaze
into my face, tight, devoid of tenderness — sought-after
solitude, exacting — crushing, ruthless freedom —
3 o’clock — Terminus — good name — companions of the
night — night company — Cold — deserted — high-cost
moment of anguish — powerful time, definitive leap toward
the end, my end, my death — Other nights’ preparation,
preparation for the unlivable — rebel race of conservation —
Neither gentle and lively sensation , nor fleeting impression
can stave off a future comparable to a continuous self-destruc-
tion, by my own weapon, chosen with the care of an
unmistakable masochism, by the awareness of this necessary
self-destruction —
They keep coming back without a break, these blows borne
by memories — Fear of going backwards — Fear of mixing that
weight into the present — Integration of myself with myself
without rifts, in a shift that binds all the movements, ideas,
words together.
Translucid subjects through yellow curtains —
Who takes such things seriously? Lives, dialogues, words for
nothing, like questions in sleep, in dream —
Strange night — how to tell it — What use is looking for “the
content is obscure, and finally returns, and finally a shadow
value bursts into the whiteness of beginning.” And the words
unfollowed arrive thus amid other presences.
Night of guitar carriers.  The musicians go by — night people.
Waiting for dawn — start of an other life — start of regular
work. Habit’s dignity among the unusual, deeply buried under
the serenity of small things, small ideas.
Stray words muttered quickly, repeated in a drunkard’s
dream. Vast space between these faces and their reflections.
Wiry little Pole, dirty old hunchback, has-been old actor,
strange voices, strange hands, long, soft — little flames
without incandescence at the brink. Do they also need to live
their myth, unto death, even in these dirty old bistros. The
dream’s, a dream’s consolation.
Where could leaders be here? No consciousness — silence —
long silence — unknown beings — ignorant — little remarks,
carelessness, cliches, repetition. They try.“
6 o’clock — reread —dumb — except 1 sentence*

June

Can you imagine a book  beginnig “First night of total re-
lease, etc.” — what ideas — something just me — no character
— sometimes I want to try — from time to time I write pages
without sequence — stories — clay — above all, no plot —
other than what I see of people — one person — not to enter the
realm of situation — I don’t locate it in a development — but
rather sense it immediately,  in an immediate response. It’s only
in an artificial way,  at the second remove, that I try to see it in a
frame — generally I know people what they do but not where
they  work, how they live, rather I know their
movements, manner of speaking — little things —
Write little stories,
solitude —
But here who’s alone — two, three four are — little groups —
talking — not noticing anything — Maybe later — when they
go back out into the street — home — a short trip — they’re a
little afraid — maybe but not much — some are —

September

Strangely  touching, what connects me to J.P. Just really good
love-making. A tenderness — sort of — that can happen when
you give yourself up completely — while making love — After
— escape — something like defensiveness — sadly touching —
impression of moving beside someone who doesn’t  open up —
Like that most of the time —

October

“Not a smile not a shadow will be sufficent to evoke the ten-
derness of a completed moment of waiting, sudden presence,
the long gaze of approach, no longer counting the step, the in-
creasingly sweet delay easy, no shock, no applause —“

***

what a nice sentence I wrote yesterday…there are days when I
really shouldn’t listen to myself write…

[…]

November

At the window in a restaurant — I saw a woman take butter
in her hand and put it into a butter dish — immediate sensation
of “clay“ — strange —

December

A kind of dependence vis-à-vis people — there are actions
they completely absorb — that take on weight they didn’t
originally have — I no longer recognize myself — exhausting —
always on guard — impossible —

***

People — here — too much movement — something not
making sense strange —
same town — suburbs here — reminded of Southampton —
same grayish ground — walls of black brick

***                                                                

Jewish liturgical recording —
in the voice — an ache — touches everything — deeply —
infinitely aching —
Again wanting to find words containing the scream — and the
amplitude — the immensity —

***                                                                

Idea like: if in 5 years 20 years three centuries a million years
the planet blows up — this mass of literature then? Nothing —
nothingness —
eternity is ridiculous —
dizzy — if one day nothing more exists — they say “ preserva-
tion of the species“ — what could that mean when I’m dead —
my death or the planet that blows up — end — same —

 ***                                                              

Other night of release —
An enclosed bar on rue de l’Université. Very smooth wooden
tables — armchairs striped yellow and red — recorded jazz —
piano —
I’ve just decided to see S. — I can wait here or somewhere else
same difference — not before 2 or 3 a.m. — free — no
holding back — forced to observe — to listen to the people here
when the music stops — the girls who’s twisting around —
leaning at the bar becomes odd, fragmented, while she’s losing
herself in the rhythms of sounds — In fact tonight — people —
not much interest — hardly brushing against me —
Ambiance not unpleasant here — though they must wonder
what I’m doing coming here — The girl’s drunk — her eyes
wide and empty — at moments her face constricts when she
wants to convince the other — the other — enormous girl in
male drag — wretched —
—“I’m not as dumb as ya think — I’ve got my dignity too —
if you think I’d do anything you’re wrong — no“ — she shakes
her head which falls back down onto her arms — lying on the
bar —
“No way — no — absolutely not, I refuse, I don’t want to“ —
what’s she refusing?
“Morning is sickening — it’ll be worse — no nothing at all —
nothing to do with you — no — you’re bugging me“
She has a Central European accent — why is this girl her in-
teresting to me —
“I want to see my daughter tomorrow“ — she’s like a petulant
urchin —
“I want to see my daughter I’m telling you — even if I’m
selling — hunh — tonight no — you bug me — I don’t  want
anything from you — no —“ she’s annoying me now — I’m fine
— but tired — I’ve got the shakes — haven’t slept — just two
hours yesterday — my neck — my shoulders my arms — when
I touch them it hurts — drinking yesterday — lack of sleep —
sleeping tomorrow —
I’m all set here — become regular — outside it must be cold
— thinking when to leave —
Public — doesn’t matter — I don’t feel that any more —
they’re watching — and I’m writing — doesn’t bother me any
more —
Yesterday — spectator
The woman by herself makes a sign for me to come and have
a drink with her — looks about 30 — nice — roughly “you’re
bugging me now — why’re you doing that writing —- c’mere I’ll
buy you a drink — “ oh sure…
Loosening up — I’m becoming part of a group — because of
her — she gets up and comes over sit at my table — shit — if
I stop writing she’ll never leave me alone — here she is — she’s
really full of it — I’m writing this — from time to time lifting
my head — smiling at her — I wonder what I’d say to her —
nothing to be done —
The camera’s  running —
I want to get out of this place — all the people over here now
— not quiet any more —
Mistake to write — falsifies the situation — not important —
These people — tomorrow — nothing — recall —
Tunis-Marseille boat with undertones — annoyance at most —
vague —
Still relaxed enough — astonishing even with such exhaustion
— what am I going to do after — I could take a bath and sleep
at my mother’s — no one will be there —
Write all the words — to keep — I’m wrecked — right now —
Feel like leaving — likely problem standing up —
Nothing done today — moped around — systematically —
Now I want her to go — I’m sick of her face her words the
others’ too — this fool who came to sit beside me and never
stops talking — asking me questions —
3 o’clock — I’m cold — soon I’m going to sleep to sleep — the
whole day — didn’t drink — but as though drunk — if only I
were warm —
it’s closing —
cold out — waiting till at least eight — in another cafe —
No longer feel like seeing S. — not going to se if his place is
closed already — stay alone — but dumb — crisis — no point in
trying to get up — they went away — have to leave —

***                                                                           

to U.
Hi — I already always wanted to write you — it didn’t hap-
pen — why — you know — we always write to talk  to our-
selves — always — actually I haven’t written a line for the
longest time — except poems — but you know that — that isn’t
writing something — I believe that something is ripening just
now, little by little — at times I’ve said to myself that the
moment I’m in has extraordinary flavor — so good — but I
didn’t begin to understand what it was in such a moment — I
can’t even locate the feeling involved — I try, of course without
success, to recapture it, relive it — of course that’s impossible —
what it will suddenly bring out in me — where I’m going — at
this moment I feel like adding things up — drawing a line and
summing up, like Sartre said — not getting lost — it’s meticu-
lous — and necessary — I haven’t the strength for it — it would
take too long — but I’m making little starts, one after the other
— I begin “okay here I am — alone — totally alone — nothing
counts — death close — my death — what there is around me
— facts — things — maybe even human beings I can do with-
out from one day to the next — I’m available — completely —
merciless freedom — you rember — I stop myself here — I
can never go any further — anyway what is further — I can’t
know — I’m up against a wall — And yet, when I come back,
there’s this uneasiness — reminder that I’m not okay — that
sometimes I need others — so strong right this minute that I
hope someone comes along, anyone — I’ve got my hands on
some clay — I have to do something — write — always the wall
— sometimes I hope that elsewhere there’s no wall —  it’s dumb
— I know I’m going to keep finding myself anywhere —
don’t need to write — ot necessary — I do it because says go
someone — for others — and then compose — imagine
characters — can’t do it — it’s fake…

***                                                                    

There are moments when calm returns — silence — and also
awareness of everything not quite present — takes time to coax
the words — leaving — decision to leave — separating from the
moment — and the place — not going right away —
level perception — plane —
the words — lots of words — without apparent reason —
words unlike — people — agreement — very removed among
them — operate on me to produce the same effect or rather
anxiety or uneasiness — words spoken by certain people de-
stroy in me what I thought was solid — scares me — only with
difficulty do I get past those troubled times that can last for
sequences of whole days — without anything else displacing it
— I sleep without its being gone when I wake — it reaches
unexpected places — like the other day when I had an
enormous craving to eat until I felt heavy — to drink until I lost
consciousness — to be gigantic organism — monstrous — to
engulf — that word — the feeling of that word —

 

1960

January

“She was sitting by the bridge — on the bridge a lot of people
were watching the barges unload — suddenly the rock she was
sitting on started to roll — it was a big, granite slab — block —
She yelled — everyone turned to look at her — The rock picked
up momentum — nothing could stop it — the people couldn’t
understand — Little by little she leaned her upper body for-
ward — until she was laid out on the slab — Simultaneously
she felt a great emptiness inside — a hole — a descent — No
one moved from the bridge — captivated by the movement…“

***                                                             

I don’t ever want to learn anything again —
just people —
I really only get close to them in bed — their nakedness —
essential —
to understand — grasp by means of gestures — looks — more
than with words — already so many men…

February

I’ve been walking for a long time — it’s 9:30 — it’s cold — I
rarely see streets or people at this hour — in this neighborhood
the houses are mute — people pass quickly — closed — walk-
ing tightly — don’t know how I got to this neighborhood —
slept at J.’s and walked all the way here — like it follows
logically — strange —
looking at a long and empty day — nervous —
there’s that exhibit at the Musée d’art moderne — to kill time,
not out of love —
that cold strange room last night — seeing myself again in all
the bedrooms —
dislocated — blurred — bodiless inside those walls — maybe a
little heat remaining —
sudden silence — cold — and all of a sudden solitude returns
— bad —

***                                                           

watching the kids in the square just now — retrieving child—
hood sensations — earth and water — fuzzy sensations — a
smell —
scattered images —
the dining room door ajar and my grandfather in bed — face
to the wall —
women sitting around the kitchen table speaking quietly —
and weeping — reds and pinks —
the boy in blue — on a hook hung from the balcony of the
house at one corner of the square — and the Germans all over
— the hook — the garden — the entry — the doorway with
masses of red fuschias — garden masses of apples —
one evening in the “house in back” eating pink rat poison and
shrieking — terrror —
flowers — frost on the window — feet warming at the stove
— scorched socks — after school —
the storms and wind in the pines at Compostal — the fire in
the living room hearth —
listing images when really the smells are what returns most
vividly — roasted coffee — detergent — overripe pears in the
loft — smell of wood and wet ground —

March

Such a strange night — on the Quai des Fleurs — I’ve been
staying here for a few days — very nice apartment — They’re
sleeping — the table faces the window where I write — the
Seine — the lights — water — calm came back — like glancing
crystal in the water — rising and falling — as real as my hand
— my face in the pane — the Seine’s reflections disrupting the
lamplight’s opacity — like crossing dream with reality — and
then a  car passes — from light to opacity — disappearance —
tranquility — very rare peacefulness — after days of
emptiness — empty enough to put off getting up — because of
the emptiness itself — and after — completely futile efforts to
fill in —
why despite appearances I go so far seeking out this feeling of
emptiness — of discomfort — as though every gesture — every
movement were bringing me nearer to death —
the sensation of emptiness disappeared in that orgasmic
moment —

***                                           

I have possibly never been so far into that solitude as these
last months — it still might not be enough — there is a vague
form of stability left here — of security — some doubt about
what I can stand —
more wandering — add leaving the country — breaking all
bonds — or whatever — being broke in a country I don’t know
— maybe —
probably an illusion — equating being alone in a room for days
— and going off somewhere —

April

Departure — tomorrow — real escape — I’m going to
Tunisia — calm —

***                       

Tunis
here with no break — already the same life — I go to cafés — I
make love — I go to films — I talk to people — no distance —
I’ve already been here since forever —
but still it’s the East — the light — the colors — the beauty —
at least this: I have new eyes — senses beginning to function
again as though after a long illness — this morning very early
— in the village — scarcely daybreak — through the grillwork
on the window — some noises in the covered streets — after
making love all night — body heavy and hot — impression of
tiredness — of being well-being — H. motionless — head on my belly
— almost cool — a smell I couldn’t place — almonds and
oranges — old food — and then suddenly in the silence — a
very long sound — very low — the slow modulation of the
muezzin — extraordinary beauty —
now here — in the café — seated on matting — they’re play-
ing cards — the patron sitting on a chair by the stove closes his
eyes — head thrown back a little — he is tall and lean — looks
high as a kite — they aren’t paying any attention to me — I’m
fine here — it’s raining out — sound of rain on the steps —

***                        

Wednesday
ran into R.

***                        

the building’s  terrace and the little hut below — just room for
a bed — when I came back at 4 — air cool — the whole town
below — early movement in the direction of the station — to
the left — the quality of the air — especially that — staying
there a long time looking down at the town —

September

Saturday — evening — a café — I’m far away — toward
Aubervilliers – I walked a long time — spent the last few
nights walking — here the old neighborhoods — the houses —
hallways staircases — little courtyards — what goes on in the
daytime — warehouses — workshops — people — their night
deserted — a few lights farther off — near the trees — I’m cold
— bitter taste of cigarettes — voices — a woman singing — an
accomplished liar’s voice — slightly hoarse — sad — a little
raw —
go back and sleep — get loaded — no — stay — stay up —
nurture this — thing that returned by chance — the silence
inside —

November

he just left — when he leaves I never know when I’ll see him
again — always chance encounters — or nearly — today I asked
myself what small faults we’ve let come between us — I don’t
know yet — I can barely guess
why such tenderness in his gestures — after — where there is
usually distance —
don’t be taken in by tenderness — protect yourself from it —
I’m sucked in too easily — his presence I already live too much in
these days — not enough resistance now — or irony —

December

I am calm — finally without anxiety — a certain balance —
Y. — circle around his presence — no more splitting — or
waiting — calm — a kind of delight — also being with him
— finally this is a story I like — I feel good —
but when I’m like this I don’t do anything — unable to write a
word — I only write in an anxious state (oh sure) — or in times
like that — ideas for novels arrive — the story of the port for
example — stupid — the novel is basically a pacific creation —
that releases what’s essential — sensation of well-being allows
time to stretch out — necessary to the novel — whereas the
anxiety produces something strong — complete — at once —
no going beyond — (?) momentary fixity — in the anxious
state —

***                             

totally out of it — what am I doing here — with these kids —
feels like sweet and well-behaved girls – never been so isolated
in the middle of a group — almost peculiar —
get out of here at the first possible moment — get away from
it — before the end of resistance — of rebellion — before
boredom — exhaustion

 

1961

February

Algeria — as if this is really the beginning for me —
SaÏd

September

Tonight I’m starting over — after these parenthetical months
— for them — go real slow — like the first time going out after
being locked up for ages —
tonight calm at last — window open – a little wind – gentle
— feeling my bathrobe — music below — I just picked up K.’s
journal — always the way to get back to work when it’s not
happening — Kafka or Beckett — to start up again —
nothing is finished — the problem hasn’t been resolved — but
I’m at the end of my rope  still struggling with it — because it
would be easier to keep going with them than pick up my life
where it left off —
these months speak years — many new things — to be
completely current with present events — living the news as it
happens – with no time lag — now it’s difficult to become
nothing but a spectator again —
what counted was the immediate — objective justification was
impossible – for what I was doing — theoretical questions
useless — when I make theory for others — I end up not believ-
ing it — immediate action justified immediately in its entirety
— uncomfortable position but real —
for months no writing — impossible to reconcile the two —
walk paying attention — I’ve lost sensation — closeness of the
outside world around me — I’m not connecting with things any
more — could be irreparable loss — trying now to recover
sensations objects for instance — the table’s smoothness —
its color — my hand on the paper —
it’s raining — that helps me — I feel better — more differenti-
ated from things — from the outside —
blur already —

October

continuing — I’m alone in the gallery space — no options —
walls — I touch the walls — I press myself against them — I’ll
lean from one to the other – I stayed in the corner opposite for
ten minutes — now I’m in the middle of the room on a chair —
writing on my lap — the empty space all around — spinning —
what to do — yell — call out — for someone to come — wait
— slow death —
explosion inside my head — words — invent words — fast —
absence —
non-sense of words —
I can’t —

***                            

December

waiting — days — time passes filled with litttle things — cling
to the slightest incident – the most expected event — the most
foreseeable with hope for some hidden thing concealed inside
the opacity of stillness — I can’t because I know what the end of
waiting is — the possibility of radical change — definitive —
there are lots of examples of such possibilities but they crumble
before any obstacle — the real presence of people — of objects
— the world — the margin between the image of suicide and
reality’s uncertainty is too great

***

story limited in time — will end on a specific date — with
departure of a train — wonderful impression of clean — retreat
— irreparable — it’s there in a presence already dissolved —
almost weightless — if he knew —

 

1962

January

stay in the nothing
this story — not even writing — not even speaking —
blow up — choking on it — smothering — blocked —
nothing to do — days
someone says something and suddenly — like a scream — in
knots —
how to
revisiting very old impressions —
do I see?
change of day into next day
disabled — stay in the imaginary
imagine acts to the point of realization — not to get there

February

torment — screams — for a long time — for days — content to
live a muted life not to get hooked — be utterly smooth offering
nothing to hang onto —
for protection

February

today — same place — time’s weight — despair — maybe
faked — to replace — impossibility of working — boredom —
cold — waiting without object —
the stories I’m writing —
the story arrives complete — sometimes while I’m walking,
mostly — I write it afterwards — always the whole story at
once — in its totality —
caught up in problems of form — obviously —
telling the slowness — beyond appearance — impression of
interior time, what to do, for solitude — isolation rendered by
the crowd maybe — or what — another isolated
character —

 ***                           

start over at the beginning — start — no — go back a little
earlier — how did it happen this distancing of things — myself
from them litttle by little — indifference — until I find I’m
settled in —
dead — like a finger that’s fallen asleep — same sensation —
no more feeling — don’t see any more — don’t feel anything
any more — at the empty center — nothing to see — empty life
— definitive rupture — anger hate revolt — only flashes — no
duration —
no more anxiety – mush — at hte moment — pathetic —
pretending to write — to resolve little problems — of form —
that’s all bullshit — not even any real pleasure writing — more
like gasping —
tangled in knots —
still a need to work in my spot — nothing else — not even any
real idea about publishing — at bottom — little solitary act of
writing — nothing more — never any chance to do any other
kind of work —
cold —
the Algeria story is all over — foresee the downfall already —
too many personal problems — among them —
finally return to solitude — lived now as before — without
becoming caught up in anything —
immediate sensation of the world empty all around —
bonding with someone
habit of being alone
it’s night — crashing – get lost in something anything —
can’t bear this right now —
yell —
quick do anything — go out —

March

still a few poems — Totem —
all too calculated — nothing new on that front —
loss of image —
the last ones for sure —
just the texts in M

***                 

today like a kind of shivering — trouble inside — hidden by
writing — precarious existence —
lost in detail — accident —
uselessness of questions — sterility —
soaked sponge —
inconsequential what I do frequently — so accept it also in
others — end the intrasigence — little by little —
life held in abeyance —
it’s late —
what’s gained yesterday is lost —

***                  

Ivry — a little bistro — already spent three hours listening —
rue du Château-des-Rentiers — pleasure in their words —
on the wall —
the Dubonnet map of France
Viandox — girl in red jacket
St. Raphael clock
Byrrh calendar
Solers electric cash register
Dubonnet thermometer
Martini barometer
license
Suze water jug
the search for the dead — the concierge — could give it any-
way — homeless on the 13th, not like here on the 20th — yeah
well you’re wrong there — when the union came in they
dumped him — not here on the 20th — with our manager —
hunh — Evelyn 2 years old she’s happy oh you’ll see it — mmm
yes that’s why she’s happy — she held out her arms to her
grandpa — oh not that often — yours is at least four – oh at
least a five spot for it — she loves money — ours repeats every-
thing she hears — that slut on the 4th – the whore — about the
car there’s something about it — a sick fellah — abscess of the
spinal col. — it depends hunh — they take out a part of the rib
— it depends — if it’s successful or not — hunh — I know one
they opened him up twice then the third time it worked — not a
fat guy hunh — no way — not like you hunh — oh well yeah —

passing time listening to phrases — repetition —

***                                

picking up phil. books again — Being and Time — why — a
certain pleasure reading that — but I end up laughing seeing
myself reading phil. — absurdity —
finished a text —
always the need for precision —
rapidity — need for a  ☐☐                          — often real frame
for story coming unglued from reality — need ellipsis too
almost always —

April

must leave — will hapen — leave now — go back to
Rostrenen — in deeper shit than ever —
sun — cafe terraces — nauseous — sick —
no money to leave right now
20,000 francs a month — 15,000 for the hotel — 5,000 left to
live on!

May

leaving
questions of obligation
decided — fuck all that — things to do — happening things —
leave fast —

no “moral“ sense — no sense of “responsibility“ —
I’m wiped out

***                   

24 May                         Rome

walking till now — Villa Borghese gardens — took off at 5
a.m. not knowing in which direction to go — no money

June

what am I doing here —
there’s a naked girl beside me — all tanned — sunbathing —
accordion music — time warp —
city too pretty —
a month like this, absolutely impossible to keep track —
nothing lacking — but nothing — nothing —
how to go on — try — systematic failure — moving from one
house to the next — exile — they talk a lot here — they explain
— astonishing — never felt like talking — to really be convinc-
ing like this — always repeating themselves —
those two have been there for an hour talking non-stop –
sitting facing each other — from the back of the room — I’m
observing — rhythm of words — of that language — too gentle
— you might say

***                  

in this post office — for writing in ink — a glass inkwell —
stopping for ink — pleasant sensation — coolness here —
I am not achieving being “normal (in relation to what passes
for normal with these people) —
annoyance — discomfort — because of them
fake — permanent

***              

heaviness in this house — like before a storm —
dog —
sun on the terrace
high closed walls — red ochre — intense —
the cypress trees
I finished the story about smell — written very quickly —
spent the night with a young thief at his place —

July

getting out of here —
very long rationalization in order that things finally lose their
hostility —
many young women passing in groups — hard to observe
people — the men — what they think! — the little soldier at the
side — he’s been following me since the bridge — burying my
face in the page to not go berserk — composure —
unbelievable still to get there — the lips of the girl with her
mother — chocolate ice cream at the corners of her mouth —
dew (mildew — same sound) — blending with her lipstick
greyish coffee — approaching green – awful —

***                       

leave — fast — be alone — somewhere
text written yesterday — a kind of turning — or approach — I
don’t know yet — anxiety while writing — new — generally it’s
before writing — the anxiety
break it open — smash — destroy
difficult —
just screams —
the scream stifles itself — ends up barely — a moan

August

Venice
finally got here —
the depopulation — no one — alone — without talking for
days —
walking
unreality
finally a little calm —

September

text about the eye — for the first time feeling of satisfaction
with a text — watch it
tracking something on paper — almost ceremonial —

October

Yesterday – what happened with h —
too much attention to the senses – not enough letting go —
with the music — extraordinary hearing — things drawn in
space — much more precise —
maximum intensity —
shaking — like stimulation at the nerve endings — certain
uncontrollable nervous reactions — many images —
time drawn out —

***             

on a bench – in the square — rue Pavée —
cold — sitting for more than an hour — just thinking about
Venice – finally collapsing from cold and tiredness —
still anxious — impossible to overcome it definitively — it
rises — it reaches — the edge — can only spit out — or
nothing to spit — keep it for days — until it kills itself off —
by tiredness — or what?

***             

finished Meurtre
a book —
a form for all of it — temporary

 

Notes

Undated, 62-63?


 

a large black cylinder
at the center — a narrow cylinder — slightly taller than the first
one — above — a man standing — just enough room for one foot
— one arm raised above his head — one leg bent —
he lowers his arm (massive sound — metallic) shakes his whole
body — instantly lowers his arm — a beat — repeats the gesture
increasingly more slowly (careful) several times — (same noise
becoming louder)
long silence
“Enough“


 

as though psychoanalysis played the same role vis-à-vis “litera-
ture-novel“ as photography vis-à-vis painting —
impossibility of the “subject“ — ridiculous now —


 

they talk about their “charakters“ — they name them — give them
stories —
aberrant
how long will it go on —
gap between music/painting and writing —
towards abstraction


 

their despairing misery —
their vomit as comfort —


 

certain of them are constantly quoting —
spreadeagled in a swamp of Culture —
playing the exemplary fuck-up — blessed —


 

long lessons already learned from others : loss — absence —
waiting — disgust — humiliation — shame — laceration —
fear —


 

violence — furor
vague pleasure of cruelty


 

image of sea — or torn sky — leads back to the blank page —
no writing for a long time —
today a few words — stammerings


 

I’ll never dance to their music —
protected from all of them
fatigue
fatigue


 

reread Meurtre — before sending it —
only the first text — bearable — today —

June 1967

Tueday 6 o’clock at Samuel Beckett’s

Dec. 70 — Jan. 71

Singapore — Java — Bali — Lompock — Sarawak

 


TRANSLATED BY NORMA COLE
LITMUS PRESS 2003

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