Le Livre des Fuites, J. M. G. Le Clézio

I wish I were able to write the way one speaks. I wish that one day, the barrier of white paper that protects and isolates me might dissolve. What can there be behind this dazzling rectangle, what paradise or hell is hiding behind this opaque window? Yes, how I wish I knew all that. The great hypocrisy of writing, and also this huge joy at the distance established, the gloves I put on in order to reach the world, to reach myself — resides precisely in this matter which interposes itself between me and myself, this circuitous route by means of which I address myself.

I wish I wrote the way one speaks. I wish I wrote the way one sings, or the way one yells, or simply the way one lights a cigarette with a match and smokes gently, thinking of unimportant things. But that is simply not done. So I write the way one writes, sitting on a straw-bottomed chair, head tilted slightly to the left, right forearm carrying at its end a hand resembling a tarantula in movement.

Perhaps people write novels simply because they do not know how to compose letters, or vice-versa.


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