April 23, 2008
THE WIND RISES ... ONE MUST ATTEMPT TO LIVE
I am working on the English version of Chut/Shhh – the French version is being accused of being repetitious – of repeating stories I’ve already told elsewhere – of being self-plagiaristic – of being too realistic – not experimental enough typographically – not self-reflexive enough – too traditional – and all kinds of things like that are being said in the reviews so far - though all the reviews are very favorable – but since the reviewers say Chut is not really fiction – it’s something else - but they don’t know what - so they say it’s auto-biographical – lucky for they don’t say it’s autofiction -- the word the French love the most to describe a kind of writing that resembles the life of the author – in any case nobody really can tell what Chut is – maybe Chut has invented a new genre that has not yet be classified and pigeon-holed by the cacademics – someone even went as far as saying Chut is not true – I don’t know in what sense – saying that in this book Federman tells things that have never happened to him to make us believe that he had a terribly unhappy childhood – but still the reviewers say that Chut is full of emotions – that it’s very moving – even sad while being funny at the same time – no one dares say that Chut is sentimental because that would really make Federman pissed – he who has resisted sentimentalism by kicking les belles-lettres in the ass at the risk of breaking his leg –
yes of course all of Federman’s books playgiarize each other – he admits that much himself – he warns the readers in advance that he is going to go steal something in the stories he told before – he even give exact references – titles - -page numbers – etc – so that the reader can verify – all this he can do because all the Federman stories are really part of one book – the big book he’s been writing for more than 50 years – so inevitably there are repetitions in that book – with variations of course – with Federman one never knows which is the good version – the true version of the stories he tells – and if you were to ask him he would tell you – the last one I told is the true version – until he tells another version which displaced the version which was the last – and which now becomes the one before the last – and so on until the final breath –
for as long as there is breath
old sam once said
there is the possibility
of telling the same story
I don’t know why I told this story.
I could just as well have told another one.
Perhaps next time I’ll tell another one.
Living should, you’ll see it’s all the same.
That’s what The Expelled Beckett tells us.
And it is true that in life as well as in literature
there many things that are the same
but to get us out of the hole
in which writers fall in regularly
an old poet already under the ground
whispers to us
Le vent se lève ! ... Il faut tenter de vivre!
The wind rises ! .... One must attempt to live!
That is to say – to write ...