A Clean and Unmarked Sheet of Whatman Paper

Georges Perec, Life A User’s Manual

As each puzzle was finished, the seascape would be “retexturised” so that it could be removed from its backing, returned to the place where it had been painted — twenty years before — and dipped in a detergent solution whence would emerge a clean and unmarked sheet of Whatman paper. Thus, no trace would remain of an operation which would have been, throughout a period of fifty years, the sole motivation and unique activity of its author.

To Remember That We Miss It

Yves Bonnefoy, “The Art of Poetry No 69,” interview by Shusha Guppy, The Paris Review 131 Summer 1994

[T]here is nothing before language, for there is no consciousness, and therefore no world, without a system of signs. In fact, it is the speaking-being that has created this universe, even if language excludes him from it. This means that we are deprived through words of an authentic intimacy with what we are, or with what the Other is. We need poetry, not to regain this intimacy, which is impossible, but to remember that we miss it and to prove to ourselves the value of those moments when we are able to encounter other people, or trees, or anything, beyond words, in silence. [via]

Like the Word on the Tip of Your Tongue

Stephen Sparks, “An Imagined Book,” Invisible Stories 31 March 2013

An imagined book cannot be possessed. Any attempt to bring it into mental focus, to remember or conjure it up — which is it? have you held it or has it held you? — leaves you bereft, as if, like the word on the tip of your tongue, the book rests in your hand, nearly. It is a vague shape around which it is impossible to stake words.

When those readers fortunate enough to feel this sense of loss speak of the book, they do so in whispers, not with secrecy, although perhaps a little, but out of reverence and fear that doing so will damn them to forgetfulness. In speaking of the book they diminish it, syllable by syllable, without ever grasping it, a handful of water.