Does the pleasure of writing exist? I don’t know, one thing I feel certain is that there is a tremendous obligation to write. This obligation to write, I don’t really know where it comes from. As long as we haven’t started writing, it seems to be the most gratuitous, the most improbable thing, almost the most impossible, and one to which, in any case, we’ll never feel bound. Then, at some point – is it the first page, the thousandth, the middle of the first book, or later? I have no idea – we realize that we’re absolutely obligated to write. This obligation is revealed to you, indicated in various ways. For example, by the fact that we experience so much anxiety, so much tension if we haven’t finished that little page of writing, as we do each day. By writing that page, you give yourself, you give to your existence, a form of absolution. That absolution is essential for the day’s happiness. It’s not the writing that’s happy, it’s the joy of existing that’s attached to writing, which is slightly different. This is very paradoxical, very enigmatic, because how is it that the gesture –so vain, so fictive, so narcissistic, so self-involved – of sitting down at the table in the morning and covering a certain number of blank pages can have this effect of benediction for the remainder of the day? That’s very enigmatic. For me, in any case, it’s one of the ways the obligation to write is manifested.
This obligation is also indicated by something else. Ultimately, we always write not only to write the last book we will write, but, in some truly frenzied way – and this frenzy is present even in the most minimal gestures of writing – to write the last book in the world . In truth what we write at the moment of writing, the final sentence of the work we’re completing, is also the final sentence of the world, in that, afterward, there’s nothing more to say. There’s a paroxysmal intent to exhaust language in the most insignificant sentence.
No doubt this is associated with the disequilibrium between speech and language. Language is what we use to construct an absolutely infinite number of sentences and utterances. Speech, on the contrary, no matter how long or diffuse, how supple, how atmospheric, how protoplasmic, how tethered to its future, is always finite, always limited. We can never reach the end of language through speech, no matter how long we imagine it to be. This inexhaustibility of language, which always holds speech in suspense in terms of a future that will never be completed, is another way of experiencing the obligation to write. We write to reach the end of language, to reach the end of any possible language, to finally encompass the empty infinity of language through the plenitude of speech.