The (clean) hand that once wrote and presented the (typeset) book as object, is now the (messy) hand that scratches out, covers up, turns in on itself. Unskilled (quick) strokes of charcoal (in performance) eat up the fruits of the slow and privileged labor of inscription. Yet, habit pathways die hard—I notice hesitation, wanting (still) to make of each page something beautiful—where to place the marks? how to best control the destruction?
“May words cease to be arms; means of action, means of salvation. Let us count, rather, on disarray.”
-Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster
“History has happened. The narrator is disobedient. A return is necessary, a way for women to go. Because we are in the stutter.”
-Susan Howe, The Birth-mark: Unsettling the Wilderness in American Literary History
“Counter the potential totalizing power of language that serves the prevailing systems and demands of coherence
Contemplate the generative power of the designation ‘illegible’ coming to speech
Enter language as it factors in, layers in, and crosses fields of meaning, elaborating and extending the possibilities for sense making
Consider how the polyglot, porous, transcultural presence alerts and alters what is around it”
-Myung Mi Kim, Commons
“[ . . . ] For it is true that whatever is written, and more generally whatever is inscribed, demonstrates, by the fact of being inscribed, a will to be remembered and reaches as it were its fulfillment in the formation of a canon. It is equally true that incorporating practices, by contrast, are largely traceless and that, as such, they are incapable of providing a means by which any evidence of a will to be remembered can be ‘left behind.’ In consequence, we commonly consider inscription to be the privileged form for the transmission of a society’s memories, and we see the diffusion and elaboration of a society’s systems of inscription as making possible an exponential development of its capacity to remember.
Yet it would be misleading, on this account, to underestimate the mnemonic importance and persistence of what is incorporated. [ . . . ] Both commemorative ceremonies and bodily practices therefore contain a measure of insurance against the process of cumulative questioning entailed in all discursive practices. This is the source of their importance and persistence as mnemonic systems. Every group, then, will entrust to bodily automatisms the values and categories which they are most anxious to conserve. They will know how well the past can be kept in mind by a habitual memory sedimented in the body.”
-Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember
from "Destroying My Book Called Threads" on Hilda Magazine.