Translated from the French by Sarah Riggs and Omar Berrada
One day one day he was waiting for himself he said
Guillaume it is time that you come
Given a narrator archivist who discovers a strange document in a box of unconsulted archives. The ideal archivist, the pure historian. The intellectuals who pretend to have been to school are not superstitious and the non-intellectuals who did go to school are encumbered with manias, it balances out. He said that a city is a mirror for any other that it reflects in it by the streets and by the bridges, by the compass points, the stream the river, repeating the river the stream and its banks its banks. It is in its walls. Each city is all cities, all roads lead there. The phantom city is a field of rubble, but the city at night rises, rises again, erects in the night its towers its bridges its murals and its people. He says that for air to exist there must be earth. He says that fire is for burning, water for drowning, air is for the fall, ground for burying and writing is a method for lasting through the days.
Or else you must take to the sea.
The image according to which writing would be like walking as opposed to reading or listening to the account of the voyage is not worth much. There is a voyage, at least movement, it is a matter of scale. Vast surfaces require ample means of transport.
A lot of rain makes the ground wet.
They are on a boat. Suppose everybody looks alike,
their friends are not so singular. My lot is so sour ah with no love to go on the sea. (The sentence, she is very intelligent, pronounced two times should not mislead us).
Was I singing? A charming melody but very nasty verse, said the marquis. Not going on the sea we walked together in Babylon Street . Suddenly it was a Moscow Street . The question is to know how a voyage made by a single person is given to another who makes it his own.
He came to know these people last summer on a three-
master, they do not grow on seas. One was a marquis, they do not grow on trees, many were English one Italian.
Would he persist in saying nothing? I for one persisted.
One could see though I had not yet admitted signs of boredom. The prince was not bored because he had a terrible pastime. He watched the slow sinking of the caravel. His wavering on board had such an influence that I am still deciphering it. No matter where when what, one needs a little latitude to change the speed. The water and earth together make a round body. The horizon draws a common limit.
I have a margin for decision independent of all authority.
We left Friday the third at eight o'clock.
We sailed south to a strong wind until sunset.
They navigated southwest quarter south. Day and night
they kept to their course. The caravel's rudder dislodged. They repaired it. The opinions of the caravel captains differed as to the place where they were at, but the admiral came closest to the truth. They saw a great fire coming out of the mountains of the island. The men were stupefied. The admiral made them understand the cause and the reasons for such a fire, comparing it to a lot of other mountains where a similar thing can be seen. After having passed this island he arrived at the large island. They gave a round sail to the caravel which had a Lateen one. He (the admiral) left that day in the morning from the port and set sail on his voyage.
He (that's me) woke early and read in his bed. It's an example of louche homophony here, example of nothing. How to believe the person in the world least gifted at puns, it's true, who nevertheless read in his bed, and always has. True also that reading in one's bed each given day, dio lazzarone, there wasn't a moment to say it. I read in my bed, he did not say this to himself. At rare times in his life, he found himself writing a book. We don't talk about it. Much more frequent were the times when he simply took notes for the books he didn't write (so yes undoubtedly it's me those days when I don't hold onto my notes very piously nor for very long).
The calm lasted all of Friday and Saturday until three. At three
in the night the northeast wind rose and the admiral set off on his route to the west. They completely lost sight of the land. Scared not to see it again for a long time, many sighed and wept.
The admiral comforted them so they would lose the fear they had of such a long voyage.
When long months pass without anything one expects the worst. Some poets without repose continue to make believe that prose is repose. Same rhythms, same precepts, excess of inversion, concessive stubbornness, cascades of parentheses, insistence on rare words. As for me I was devoid of style. I have some manias but nothing uncommon. Nevertheless I was not among those to whom a sentence in isolation would be attributed without a doubt. It was not impossible that this could be due to the practice of pastiche the role of which so reduces with time that any statement summons too many authors for a single one to be recognized. There are a lot of authors at this time. It is the profusion that comes before the end.