Authors literature Novelists Quotations Writings

Circuits: Michael Brodsky.

“Whatever way I ultimately took the snow falling I was assured of being glued to a stance, a localizable, diagnosable, capturable stance. No. No. No. No. The snow was falling. Kabbala Street snow was falling. But what was the furious plummet of the snowflakes doomed to dissolve on my piss-impregnated topcoat but the enactment of resistance to such an extinction. Seeing the snowfall in this manner I was all at once manumitted from the Kabbala Street furnace. I was more than ever wary of distraction but seeing the snow falling in this manner was not a surrender to distraction, a flight from actively pullulating despair. Such seeing was a full bodied exertion of despair. Seeing the snow falling as a deployed and enacted resistance to falling—seeing the snow falling as the snow’s only way of expressingβ€”living—resistance to falling, I was permitted to elude entrapment in drooling passivity before a distraction, a contraption recruited from Kabbala Street. The snow falling was no longer a state of affairs somewhere out there enjoining no collaborative pang, no strain of output. To see the snow falling as an enacted resistance to—the only conceivable protest against—descent into extinction was to be transformed from passive consumer of sleekly synthesized distractions into an active collaborator in, an unstinting undergoer of, what I myself was suddenly playing no small part in synthesizing. The snow falling was now very much fused with the particular slant of my consciousness on how it fell, how it was falling. I was suddenly as much out there as the snow falling and the snow falling was reciprocally as much within as my particular slant on its plight. Collaborating as I did in the falling of the snow, somehow forcing the phenomenon itself to undergo the collective spasm it induced within, I knew I had succeeded in resisting one of the prop-like traps set for me (in their eagerness to propagate the plausibility, the desirability of a fixed term to my ploy-breeding despair) by the Kabbala street gang. I knew I had succeeded in inactivating and scuttling one of the trap-like props happily still susceptible to detection by a tottering and therefore ever vigilant myopia.”

“The point of inventory was to be never-ending. Affirming the continued existence of an intact inexhaustible never-ending inventory at the same time affirmed my continued existence as a being forever on the increase, and, as an expanding sum of thoughts acquired, fast approaching…the dimensionlessness, the unlocalizability, the undiagnosability, of all of being.”

 “I thought of the body, the incised body. I shuddered. Surely I had come to the end of all incision, of all acquisition of incision—incision as the high road to, pretext for, acquisition of myself as more than myself, as nothing less than prefiguration of being’s all.”

from Circuits, a novel by Michael Brodsky {1985}.

Authors Gombrowicz literature Novelists

Witold Gombrowicz: Cosmos {1965}

“How quickly the thief feels the policeman’s eye upon him. When one considers the fantastic quantity of sounds and shapes that impinge upon one at each and every moment of one’s life, what is easier than to combine two and two into a pattern where none exists. For a moment the thought surprised me, like a wild beast in a dark forest. But then it was swallowed up again in the chaos of seven people talking and eating. Dinner was still going on.”

“What story? Fiddlesticks! Berging with the berg in the berg. Don’t you see? Bamberging with the Bamberg. Tri-li-li-lee. He went on in a sly tone of voice. He moved his arms and even his legs as if he were dancing joyfully. Mechanically he repeated berg, berg, which seemed to come up from almost unfathomable depths. Then he calmed down and waited.”

“So I dropped the sparrow to concentrate on the mouth and a kind of exhausting game of tennis set in, for the sparrow returned me to the mouth and the mouth returned me to the Sparrow. I was the ball in the middle and each was hidden by the other. As soon as I caught the mouth, really caught it as if I had lost it, I was aware that besides this side of the house there was the other and that besides the mouth there was the lonely hanged sparrow. And the worst of it was that it was impossible to place the sparrow on the same map as the mouth, it belonged to an entirely different one, a different area altogether, a fortuitous and entirely absurd and irrelevant area. So why did it keep on haunting me, it had no right to. No, it had no right to. No right to? The less excuse there was for it, the more it obsessed me, the more difficult it was to shake off; the less right it had the closer it clung and the more significant it became.”

—–All selections from Cosmos {1965}; translation by Mosbacher.

Authors Novelists

Thomas Pynchon: The Crying of Lot 49.

“That’s what would come to haunt her most, perhaps: the way it fitted, logically, together. As if (as she’d guessed that first minute in San Narciso) there were revelations in progress all around her.”

“The swan has yielded but one hollow quill, The hapless mutton, but his tegument; Yet what, transmuted, swart and silken Flows Between, was neither plucked nor harshly flayed, But gathered up, from wildly different beasts.”

“This pitchy brew in France is “encre” hight; In this might dire Squamuglia ape the Gaul, For “anchor” it has ris’n, from deeps untold.”

“It is at about this point in the play, in fact, that things really get peculiar, and a gentle chill, an ambiguity, begins to creep in among the words. Heretofore the naming of names has gone on either literally or as metaphor. But now, as the Duke gives his fatal command, a new mode of expression takes over. It can only be called a kind of ritual reluctance. Certain things, it is made clear, will not be spoken aloud; certain events will not be shown onstage; though it is difficult to imagine, given the excesses of the preceding acts, what these things could possibly be.”

“Niccolo leaps to his feet, staring up one of the radial aisles, hand frozen on the hilt of his sword. He trembles and cannot speak, only stutter, in what may be the shortest line ever written in blank verse: “T-t-t-t-t . . .” As if breaking out of some dream’s paralysis, he begins, each step an effort, to retreat. Suddenly, in lithe and terrible silence, with dancers’ grace, three figures, long-limbed, effeminate, dressed in black tights, leotards and gloves, black silk hose pulled over their faces, come capering on stage and stop, gazing at him. Their faces behind the stockings are shadowy and deformed. They wait. The lights all go out.”

“But Gennaro ends on a note most desperate, probably for its original audience a real shock, because it names at last the name Angelo did not and Niccolo tried to, “He that we last as Thurn and Taxis knew now recks no lord but the stiletto’s Thorn, And Tacit lies the gold once-knotted horn. No hallowed skein of stars can ward, I trow, who’s once been set his tryst with Trystero.” Trystero. The word hung in the air as the act ended and all lights were for a moment cut; hung in the dark to puzzle Oedipa Maas, but not yet to exert the power over her it was to.”

“So began, for Oedipa, the languid, sinister blooming of The Trystero. Or rather, her attendance at some unique performance, prolonged as if it were the last of the night, something a little extra for whoever’d stayed this late. As if the breakaway gowns, net bras, jeweled garters and G-strings of historical figuration that would fall away were layered dense as Oedipa’s own street-clothes in that game with Metzger in front of the Baby Igor movie; as if a plunge toward dawn indefinite black hours long would indeed be necessary before The Trystero could be revealed in its terrible nakedness. Would its smile, then, be coy, and would it flirt away harmlessly backstage, say good night with a Bourbon Street bow and leave her in peace? Or would it instead, the dance ended, come back down the runway, its luminous stare locked to Oedipa’s, smile gone malign and pitiless; bend to her alone among the desolate rows of seats and begin to speak words she never wanted to hear?”

—–excerpts from the author’s 1966 novel.

Authors literature Novelists photography Playwrights Samuel Beckett Text Writings

Samuel Beckett.

So the sad tale a last time told they sat on as though turned to stone. Through the single window dawn shed no light. From the street no sound of reawakening. Or was it that buried in who knows what thoughts they paid no heed? To light of day. To sound of reawakening. What thoughts who knows.

Thoughts, no, not thoughts. Profounds of mind. Of mindlessness. Whither no light can reach. No sound. So sat on as though turned no stone. The sad tale a last time told.


 Nothing is left to tell.

—from Ohio Impromptu.

Where was I? The change. In what did it consist. It is hard to say. Something slipped. There I was, warm and bright smoking my tobacco-pipe, watching the warm bright wall, when suddenly somewhere some little thing slipped, some little tiny thing. Millions of little things moving all together out of their old place, into a new one nearby, and furtively, as though it was forbidden. It was the same sun, and the same wall, but so changed that I felt I had been transported, without my having remarked it, to some quite different yard, and to some quite different season, in an unfamiliar country.

But in what did the change consist? What was changed, and how? What was changed, if my information is correct, was the sentiment that a change, other than a change of degree, had taken place. What was changed was existence off the ladder.

This I am happy to inform you is the reversed metamorphosis. The Laurel into Daphne. The old thing where it always was, back again.

—from Watt.

But he had hardly felt the absurdity of those things, on the one hand, and the necessity of those others, on the other (for it is rare that the feeling of absurdity is not followed by the feeling of necessity), when he felt the the absurdity of those things of which he had just felt the necessity (for it is rare that the feeling of necessity is not followed by the feeling of absurdity).

—from Watt.

But Watt heard nothing of this, because of other voices singing, crying, stating, murmuring, things unintelligible, in his ear. With these if he was not familiar, he was not unfamiliar either. So he was not alarmed, unduly. Now these voices, sometimes they sang only, and sometimes they cried only, and sometimes they stated only, and sometimes they murmured only, and sometimes they sang and cried, and sometimes they sang and stated, and sometimes they sang and murmured and sometimes they cried and stated and sometimes they cried and murmured, and sometimes they stated and murmured, and sometimes they sang and cried and stated, and sometimes they sang and cried and murmured, and sometimes they cried and stated and murmured, and sometimes they sang and cried and stated and murmured, all together, at the same time, as now, to mention only these four kinds of voices, for there were others. And sometimes Watt understood all, and sometimes he understood much, and sometimes he understood little, and sometimes he understood nothing, as now.

—from Watt.