From Vestiges_02: Ennui

“I was tired of those involuntary inquisitions, of those incessant curiosities. Boredom with the eternal pageant turned my thoughts to what you will. I fled voluptuously.”

—Philippe Soupault

“Ah, how masterly is my boredom! . . . But what am I waiting for? Death! Death!”

—Jules Laforgue

From idleness floods erupt. The writer’s only devoir, therefore, is to drown in the deluge, to retreat from action, to not rise for air. For those who fear the ceasing of life, there is only time enough, nothing more, to sustain its innocuousness with displayed occupations, habits, tirelessly repeated, and routines which so often function as deceit: affairs without intensity. The bored writer triumphs over time by sheer stillness—what Beckett called lessness, ruins and refuge—and is already dead: writing, unencumbered and absent obligation, corrupt memoirs, the literature of forfeiture, not of sacrifice but that of surrender.

Staring away is, simultaneously, staring into. The writer, digging greater depths within him or herself, loses all propriety. Sadness amplifies hunger, exposed skin. Love materializes into odd obsessions, criminal fetishes. Boredom becomes distress, over and over again, over the vastness of instances. Writing counterfeits the lull of living into uncontrolled tides. Unfettered from decorum, appearance, or decency, the writer, whose words are already acquainted with upheaval, transforms tedium. Wills it on a whim both exigent and subdued, earnest and inebriated. Boredom is a sensation few confront. If it is also what one wields, at ease or the result of exile, its consequences thus confess crippling intention.

Free to be anywhere, boredom takes the writer everywhere. Free from apprehension, the writer is no longer pushed to panic by boredom, fumbling to alleviate it. What, then, does one do with this liberty? One not simply does but remembers, and detrimentally. The bored writer embellishes, amplifies, heightens. Renews shame, lusts after shadows, inhabits remote places. Replays driftless aches. It is due to dullness that the soul truly endures. The writer must, involuntarily and unsuccessfully, follow these impulses, and fail to give sense to them. The writer, motionless, demonstrates a lack, an inability that does not attempt to solve its own faults. The bored writer must be content to gaze. To long for and be lost in—for a moment, at least—that which oblivion promises.

—Jared Daniel Fagen & Anton Ivanov
July 2016
Brooklyn, New York

Previous Post: Vestiges_02: Ennui Launch at Unnameable Books Next Post: Paris by Laurie Stone