From Vestiges_00: Ex-Stasis

“When you find such hordes of scribblers all over, it’s misplaced kindness not to write. The paper will still be wasted.”

—Juvenal

“The ‘should be’ kills life, and every concept expresses a ‘should-be’ of its object; that is why thought can never arrive at a real definition of life, and why, perhaps, the philosophy of art is so much more adequate to tragedy than it is to the epic.”

—György Lukács

Writers are abject beings. Their numbers, like those of cockroaches, are indefinite, and their sight is similarly met with first a grimace of disgust, followed then by scorn. Writing is an art that deals in unwanted gifts, an exercise in the superfluous. Writers offer an undesirable service, a multiplication of words and texts that, by their very existence, seem to demand from the reader the effort to be read. After all, we encounter reading first as a duty, a moral one, and some readers still piously shake their books like rosaries on street corners. It is the guilt of the unread library, of a bounty that can’t be fully enjoyed because life is too short to be spent in the loneliness of reading. The writer turns out to be cruel for imposing on the world, or at least its editors, this guilt, this collective debt of attention.

With greater suspicion are seen those who are unsolicited or unpaid: since they are not being paid, the reasoning goes, those writers must gain some libidinal gratification out of the pain they inflict on the reader. The recurring questions are, “Who asked for this? Whose desires are you responding to? Is there a need for this? Why are you subjecting us to this?” Writers are often excluded, as such, from the circulation of goods; their work seldom receives in exchange any good, and is always extraneous to the give and take of reason. The writer persists in this senseless work, which produces no value, despite the numerous reproaches, reasons and doubts demanding its end. With this resistance the writer finds him or herself at the border of the community, outside its life cycle of production and reproduction, of equity and moral value.

This is the limit from which one experiences beauty, and from which emerges an image proving how lackluster life is. Aiming for that which extends beyond the immediate interests of the community, the writer poses beauty in contradiction with the good. Ignoring the good is the way by which one reaches beauty. Ignoring all voices and writing in silence is how the writer proceeds in literature.

—Anton Ivanov & Jared Daniel Fagen
April 2015
Brooklyn, New York

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