Lisa Robertson. Friendship is the basic political unit. Its economy is passional and dissolves when affinity dissolves. As such, it can never become a milieu or an institution. Friendship is an incendiary allegiance; the most extreme experiments in relationship are conducted in its charged space. That betrayal may be one of its features is realistic. The terms of the experiment play themselves in the scale of the world, not the household or the jobsite or the reproductive contract. To learn how not to betray our friend is the lifework. The revolution situates itself in this orbit.
Lisa Robertson: Resistance is the vulnerable utopia of inwardness.
Sebald: The salt works is an immense timber-frame structure. It’s no longer used for a practical purpose, has shifted a bit and is considered unsafe. Mineral water cascades down through thousands of bundles of twigs stacked up in itwhich become gradually mineralized. What takes place is a kind of metamorphosis: something living becomes dead or nearly dead, as Rousseau explains in a curious passage of his on vitrification. This is indeed analogous to what happens in writing: as you become imbued by your subject you become less alive. Works of literature, like the crystallized twigs, are the hardened remains of former lives.
Kafatou: Do you feel that by retelling and reassociating our experience we can restore or repair or redeem it?
Sebald: I don’t think so. I have very little faith in psychoanalysis and similar talking cures. We think that by dwelling in or going over the past we can make things better, whereas we generally make them worse.
Kafatou: The kind of prose rhythm and syntactic structure you yourself prefer, in your most recent work particularly, seems very natural and yet is extraordinarily complex, very periodic, with extended parallelisms and long adjectival phrases.
Sebald: I usually start with a fairly short sentence. Then I need to include factual information which doesn’t fit into the next sentence, so I have to recast the sentence I’ve begun. The result is that by the time I’ve finished with it, my sentence is rather like a labyrinth. I do like some writers who work straightforwardly, main clause after main clause. But I tend to prefer those who engage in a degree of elaboration.
Thank you L; after a period of thinking otherwise now I am thinking that my project is once again possible.
Then life steps in and says no.
[The artist] must pursue the truth relentlessly. Once he sees this fact his feet are on the path. If you want to know the truth you will know it. The manipulation of materials in art work is a result of this state of mind. The artist works by awareness of his own state of mind.
In order to do so he must have a studio, as a retreat and as a place to work. In the studio an artist mus have no interruptions from himself or anyone else. Interruptions are disasters. To hold onto the ‘silver cord,’ that is the artist’s discipline. The artist’s own mind will be all the help he needs.
There will be moving ahead and discoveries made every day. There will be great disappointments and failures in trying to express them. An artist is one who can fail and fail and still go on.
Methodically repeat the method of chance that gave you the measure of your power. The same intelligence is at work in all the acts of the mind.