Yes, this is what I thought adulthood would be, a kind of long indian summer, a state of tranquility, of calm incuriousness, with nothing left of the barely bearable raw immediacy of childhood, all the things solved that had puzzled me when I was small, all mysteries settled, all questions answered, and the moments dripping away, unnoticed almost, drip by golden drip, toward the final, almost unnoticed, quietus.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s devoted Beckett readers greeted each successively shorter volume from the master with a mixture of awe and apprehensiveness; it was like watching a great mathematician wielding an infinitesimal calculus, his equations approaching nearer and still nearer to the null point.
All one wants to do is make a small, finished, polished, burnished, beautiful object . . . I mean, that's all one wants to do. One has nothing to say about the world, or society, or morals or politics or anything else. One just wants to get the damn thing done, you know? Kafka had it right when he said that the artist is the man who has nothing to say. It's true. You get the thing done, but you don't actually have anything to communicate, apart from the object itself.
In the city of flesh I travel without maps, a worried tourist: and Ottilie was a very Venice. I stumbled lost in the blue shade of her pavements. Here was a dreamy stillness, a swaying, the splash of an oar. Then, when I least expected it, suddenly I stepped out into the great square, the sunlight, and she was a flock of birds scattering with soft cries in my arms.
I have never really got used to being on this earth. Sometimes I think our presence here is due to a cosmic blunder, that we were meant for another planet altogether, with other arrangements, and other laws, and other, grimmer skies. I try to imagine it, our true place, off on the far side of the galaxy, whirling and whirling. And the ones who were meant for here, are they out there, baffled and homesick, like us? No, they would have become extinct long ago. How could they survive, these gentle earthlings, in a world that was made to contain... Read more »
He knows that after him everything will continue on much as before, except that there will be a minuscule absence, a barely detective gap in the so-called grand scheme, one unit fewer now. Or not even that, not even an empty space where he once was, for all will rush immediately to fill that vacuum. Pft. Gone. Recollections of him will remain in the minds of others for a while, but presently those others too will die and his few relics with them. And then all will be dark.
What I was afraid of was my own grief, the weight of it, the ineluctable corrosive force of it, and the stark awareness I had of being, for the first time in my life, entirely alone, a Crusoe shipwrecked and stranded in the limitless wastes of a boundless and indifferent ocean.
There are times, they occur with increasing frequency nowadays, when I seem to know nothing, when everything I know seems to have fallen out of my mind like a shower of rain, and I am gripped for a moment in paralysed dismay, waiting for it all to come back but with no certainty that it will.
All I wanted was to be left alone. They abhor a vacuum, other people. You find a quiet corner where you can hunker down in peace, and the next minute there they are, crowding around you in their party hats, tooting their paper whistles in your face and insisting you get up and join in the knees-up.
Writing keeps me at my desk, constantly trying to write a perfect sentence. It is a great privilege to make one’s living from writing sentences. The sentence is the greatest invention of civilization. To sit all day long assembling these extraordinary strings of words is a marvelous thing. I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s as near to godliness as I can get.
These days I must take the world in small and carefully measured doses. It is a sort of homeopathic cure I am undergoing, though I am not certain what this cure is meant to mend. Perhaps I am learning to live amongst the living again. Practising, I mean. But no, that is not it. Being here is just a way of not being anywhere.