- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Writing

Marguerite Duras on Writing, Life, Words, and More

Happy birthday, Marguerite Duras. Here are some quotes from the writer:

“A writer is a foreign country.”

“Writing comes like the wind. It’s naked, it’s made of ink, it’s the thing written, and it passes like nothing else passes in life, nothing more, except life itself.”

“Doubt equals writing.”

“In life there comes a moment, and I believe that it’s unavoidable, that one cannot escape it, when everything is put in doubt: marriage, friends, especially friends of the couple. Not children. Children are never put in doubt. And this doubt grows around one. This doubt is alone, it is the doubt of solitude. It is born of solitude. We can already speak the word. I believe that most people couldn’t stand what I’m saying here, that they’d run away from it. This might be the reason why not everyone is a writer. Yes. That’s the difference. That is the truth. No other. Doubt equals writing. So it also equals the writer. And for the writer, everyone writes. We’ve always known this.”
“Finding yourself in a hole, at the bottom of a hole, in almost total solitude, and discovering that only writing can save you. To be without the slightest subject for a book, the slightest idea for a book, is to find yourself, once again, before a book. A vast emptiness. A possible book. Before nothing. Before something like living, naked writing, like something terrible, terrible to overcome. I believe that the person who writes does not have any ideas for a book, that her hands are empty, her head is empty, and that all she knows of this adventure, this book, is dry, naked writing, without a future, without echo, distant, with only its elementary golden rules: spelling, meaning.”
“It’s not that you have to achieve anything, it’s that you have to get away from where you are.”
“The solitude of writing is a solitude without which writing could not be produced, or would crumble, drained bloodless by the search for something else to write.”
“When the past is recaptured by the imagination, breath is put back into life.”
“Words don’t change their shape, they change their meaning, their function…They don’t have a meaning of their own any more, they refer to other words that you don’t know, that you’ve never read or heard…you’ve never seen their shape, but you feel…you suspect…they correspond to…an empty space inside you…or in the universe.”
“It’s while it’s being lived that life is immortal, while it’s still alive. Immortality is not a matter of more or less time, its not really a question of immortality but of something else that remains unknown. It’s as untrue to say it’s without beginning or end as to say it begins and ends with the life of the spirit, since it partakes both of the spirit and of the pursuit of the void.”
“You’re always more unreal to yourself than other people are.”
Website | + posts

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

Leave a Reply