My books do not settle down. I like books that slip away, the escapees.
Helene Cixous, “The Writing, Always the Writing.”
Softy, softly, the books.
Amina Cain, “Words Come to Me”
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When it’s in a book I don’t think it’ll hurt any more …exist any more. One of the things writing does is wipe things out. Replace them.
What I remember best about my visits to those bookstores are the eyes of the booksellers, which sometimes looked like the eyes of a hanged man and sometimes were veiled by a kind of film of sleep, which I now know was something else. […] At the last bookstore I visited, as I was going through a row of old French novels, the bookseller, a tall, thin man of about forty, suddenly asked whether I thought it was right for an author to recommend his own works to a man who’s been sentenced to death. […] What book would you give to a condemned man? he asked me. I don’t know, I said. I don’t know either, said the bookseller, and I think it’s terrible. What books do desperate men read? What books do they like? How do you imagine the reading room of a condemned man? he asked. I have no idea, I said.
Roberto Bolaño, in an essay taken from Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches (1998–2003) to be released in May
n. the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago, a hidden annex littered with thoughts left just as they were on the day they were captured.
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I walked into my own book, seeking peace. It was night, and I made a careless movement inside the dream; I turned too brusquely the corner and I bruised myself against my madness. It was this seeing too much, this seeing of a tragedy in the quiver of an eyelid, constructing a crime in the next room, the men and women who had loved before me on the same hotel bed.
I carry white sponges of knowledge on strings of nerves.
As I move within my book I am cut by pointed glass and broken bottles in which there is still the odor of sperm and perfume.
More pages added to the book but pageslike a prisoner’s walking back and forth over the space alotted him. What is it alotted me to say?
The history of a text is like a long caress.
Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red
Lily (photo performance) by Melanie Bonajo, 2009
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