The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

August 7, 2001


of the book

i cannot write the book i desire; i think constantly - this text is an
introduction. there is nothing beyond the introduction.

the introduction is fecund, replete, with the details of the world
between heat birth and cold death; the introduction inhales universal
annihilation. there is no proper way to express this.

the books i would write break down upon their enunciation.

the announcement of the book is the book; the announcement effaces
itself in the exhaustion of continuous production. i hold
therapeutically, psychoanalytically, to this production; it becomes a
life-form, prehensile; it reaches towards the book; its tentacles begin
to wrap themselves around each and every trope; metaphors becomes
obstacles and worlds; the production exhales in its own denouement.

only in fear do i look forward to this production which spells my
failure,this inability to continue, this waywardness, contrariness.

it reaches through me, comes through me; how could i not believe in
ghosts, avatars, cyborgs, prostheses, emananations? i write as if their
very existence depended on it. repeatedly: i write myself into
existence; i write myself out of it. but the existence is tinged with
labor throughout - it is the laboring of an existence fragile and
wavering literally beyond belief.

if i could only make a statement and hold to it; if i could only connect
a series of statements, almost as if they were axioms "as if to say." it
is my strength and weakness that such connections are governed by
laughter, and the statements themselves, by misery. i am one of the few
who constantly see through myself. i know about failure from within, the
rapidity of existence, the inability to seize time for an instant. the
darkness is overwhelming: it is the darkness of the first and last, and
only in the midst of chaotic neutrality is the semblance of being

holding to the book: holding memory in place throughout the vicissitudes
of life. a continuous series of failed projects tends asymptotically
towards truths that otherwise remain submerged; as it is, they are
external to symbolic foreclosure, forms of meanderings more at one with
dark matter than luminous and momentary gravity.

i could never tell you where the statement might be; what might be the
equivalence of the book; what might be its destination or distribution;
who might read what could be interpreted as a tropology of illness. i
could never tell you the statement, or "make it" in any sense, nor is
there a concept which holds fast, the "one good idea" that each of us is
supposedly destined to express. it is the "nor" that grips me, the
"neither this nor that," the "not both this and that," the dissuasions
of propositional logics and their fundamental modes - the
superimpositions of gestural logics and their organic gestures towards
the frisson and trembling of being in relation.

if only i could write of the rush of letters, the stream of meanings,
shape-riding semantics in the depths of the night! if only utterance
were at home within me, if there were set themes ready to be expressed,
clouds and darkened flows "just" about to turn or return to the
symbolic. instead the dance is always around - and it is a dance - a
fire elsewhere,beings i could almost see in the dim light, theoretical
constructs about to emerge out of a communality i witness, but never
partake in. even the play of the world escapes me; i search for books
within it; i search for the finality of the word, deconstructing at a
rush, fevered with disbelief, exhausted with being. what is "out there"
is never a "what," never "out there"; what is out there is insufficient.

biography, autobiography, flattens and disenchant, transforming theory
and abstraction to the incidental. scaffolding becomes anecdote and
complexity is reduced to the despair of a sleepless night. the book that
calls me forth is otherwise, effacing in the midst of the call, denying
in its insistency.

it asserts the "it" "itself," creating presence in absence, ontology in
the midst of chaos. it is the engine or process born of desire; it has
no otherwise existence. i fight constantly to ensure that its contents
and index reflect something beyond that, that desire does not become
circumstance, that circumstance does not turn thought of the world into
diary. no life is "worth living" and not in the book which calls me.

the book is an addiction.

the book is an inescapable addiction, raging, regulated, in the absence
of drugs, called forth in clarity, self-inscribing. not worth living,
but a medium of the world, circumstantial mediation or re/mediation in

this denial, rhetoric, flight, are characteristic of that philosophy of
dedication inhabiting me like an illness; they are symptoms of the book;
they fumble within me; they lock themselves within me; they hold my mind
in its insufficiency. they are my promise of redemption.

i deconstruct the possessive, calling on methodologies i recognize as
already used, carrying their own stain, their own historic shame.
thinking must always cast aside the stigma; thinking must never replace
it with the taint of purity. this is what i have been promised, speaking
to others through myself: these are the words of the book.

never written, this too a cauterization of a wound refusing to heal.

i cannot write the book "i desire" - that is my failure, not that of the
book. even the sentence is a sentencing; what is left to say falls to
pieces. indeed, there is nothing beyond the introductions.

like any other illness, a compulsion to write, to rectify, to bring down
the house, to absolve rectification, to slant.

to comprehend illness as a symptom, the momentary apparition of being.

"i desire," "my desire." the writing of submergence. the writing of the
remnant, remains. the writing of being-submerged, submerged writing.

the book, my book, the book.


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