“The moment you write, you don’t kill yourself.” Hélène Cixous
French literary critic and feminist writer, Hélène Cixous, says that literature is nothing if it is not violent.
By vigorously deconstructing and dismantling loyalty to this idea and that idea, we can learn to see truth buried within the opposite of our initial understandings. We long for neat solutions to the suffering of life, but tidy is precisely at the root of our problem. If initial understanding of truth is only possible by digging it out of its opposite, then maybe only the absurd can save a person.
To find the absurdity in life is a great salve. It can liberating. Why is life privileged over death? Because we do not know death. Confusion and doubt are not signs of dead ends. Did I say that? Was it Derrida? I can’t remember. I wrote it in a notebook a long time ago.
Literature is a place with no limits, says Cixous, a place where one must say everything that one cannot say, where there is no frontier.
For years I wrote endless poems about someone’s death. Then I wrote a whole book about something else. That something else was what I could never say, not even to myself. Then I said it. There. Death of love allowed for this courage. And then what? Another death. This death I cannot write about. It is more violent than literature, but only because I’m sure I am not well read enough. Or maybe because the unexpected tears you in ways you cannot recover. I face this unexpected for what it is: Absurd.
A turtle on a high wire.
A widow in a bridal shop.