“Of course, it is impossible to live without others, without the body. And solitude is false, an illusion, like magic, as it was for Plato and the Platonists, for the mystics who cast off and condemn the body, not as an austere sacrifice, but for the great pride of being able to surpass physical ‘limitations.’ Living life outside of the world, being hermit in the desert—these are sealed exits. What then? To understand that you are—if you can be—the shape of the face, the ineptitude, the restlessness.”

— Ricardo Piglia, The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: Formative Years (trans. Robert Croll)

“The point could be the following: to destroy—to attempt to destroy—personal fate as manifested in the repetition of events. We know that we repeat actions but do not remember. In this case, the point would be to deliberately remember some incidents from the past, over and over again. It might be a single event—for example, an afternoon playing chess at the club—remembered with the intention of reconstructing everything surrounding the scene. Another alternative would be to reread these notebooks, to choose something recorded there that you no longer remember and try to do the same thing again—that is, to try to reconstruct everything around that event. Of course, there is no assurance that you can overcome the repetition of events by remembering (for example, in my case, by remembering my tendency toward isolation), which has persisted since childhood, but, in any case, it would give a new dimension to the events. It’s like the reaction of a cat, scratching or biting when it is stepped upon by accident. Memory works in this way: you step on the toe of a memory and then the scratch and the blood come. Nevertheless, there doesn’t appear to be a solution; it is impossible to rectify the past. And there in the past is the event, one which you have forgotten but which is repeated in other ways—yet always the same, again and again.”

— Ricardo Piglia, The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: Formative Years (trans. Robert Croll)

“One of the lessons—if there really are lessons, because deep down it is idiotic to think you can learn from experience—is the fluctuation between what can be done or said and what can be neither said nor done. A diary should be written about the second part of the sentence; that is, you should ultimately write about the limits or the frontiers that make certain words or actions impossible. But where do those obstacles come from, the feeling that there is something—a space, a person, a series of actions—’that cannot be done?’ It wouldn’t mean a ‘real’ impossibility but rather a place it is prohibited to enter. Then we ask whom it is prohibited for and start again . . . It’s also true that my past (what Pavese calls personal destiny) allows me to see or define what I can do; the rest of the alternatives and options I could never see nor conceive of directly. Literature could be, among other things, helpful as away of discovering or describing these blind spots.” p.220

— Ricardo Piglia, The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: Formative Years (trans. Robert Croll)

Blind spots. “In the end, I will always be an outsider to things.” How to be known? My only regret is that I didn’t bring the second volume of diaries with me.

“When I confront my personal memories with reality, with facts sharply defined, with the vivid reminisces of others, I realise my negligence. Whole tracts of time were lived and one thought no more of them: whole ages have fallen into desuetude. Looking for them now is like chasing dust around an empty house. But on this occasion—occasioned by this writing effort, which as you see has also become an effort of memory—I sit down to retouch my faded icons. The operation demands loud colours, the loudest possible, yet these too are marred by oblivion. Memory is not a treasure trove that, laid open, dazzles us with its contents. It is a shadowy pit.”

—S. D. Chrostowska, Permission

“We have been accustomed to reduce the other to ours or ourselves. On the level of consciousness as on the level of feelings, we have been educated to make our own what we approach or what approaches us. Our manner of reasoning, our manner of loving is often an appropriation, either through lack of differentiation, a fusion, or through transformation into an object, an object of knowledge or of love, that we integrate into our world. We act in this way especially towards others who are closest to us, forgetting that the are other, different from us, but also towards the foreigner who is welcomed on the condition that he, or she, agrees to being assimilated to our way of living, our habits, our world.”

—Luce Irigaray, Key Writings

“I believe that one can only begin to advance along the path of discovery, the discovery of writing or anything else, from mourning and in the reparation of mourning. In the beginning the gesture of writing is linked to the experience of disappearance, to the feeling of having lost the key to the world, of having been thrown outside. Of having suddenly acquired the precious sense of the rare, of the mortal. Of having urgently to regain the entrance, the breath, to keep the trace.”

—Hélène Cixous, From the Scene of the Unconscious to the Scene of History: Pathway of Writing from The Hélène Cixous Reader.