another indictment

Here is E. M. Cioran, from “Some Blind Alleys: A Letter,” on why everything i do is a wretched mistake:

Penetrating the literary inferno, you will come to learn its artifices and its arsenic; shielded from the immediate, that caricature of yourself, you will no longer have any but formal experiences, indirect experiences; you will vanish into the Word. Books will be the sole object of your discussions. As for literary people, you will derive no benefit from them. But you will find this out too late, after having wasted your best years in a milieu without density or substance. The literary man? An indiscreet man, who devaluates his miseries, divulges them, tells them like so many beads: immodesty — the side-show of second-thoughts — is his rule; he offers himself. Every form of talent involves a certain shamelessness. Only sterility is truly distinguished — the man who effaces himself along with his secret, because he disdains to parade it: sentiments expressed are an agony for irony, a slap at humor.

To keep one’s secret is the most fruitful of activities. It torments, erodes, threatens you. Even when confession is addressed to God, it is an outrage against ourselves, against the mainstream of our being. The apprehensions, shames, fears from which both religious and profane therapeutics would deliver us constitute a patrimony we should not allow ourselves to be disposed of, at any cost. We must defend ourselves against our healers and, even if we die for it, preserve our sickness and our sins. The confessional? a rape of conscience perpetrated in the name of heaven. And that other rape, psychological analysis! Secularized, prostituted, the confessional will soon be installed on our street corners: except for a couple of criminals, everyone aspires to have a public soul, a poster soul.

Drained by his fecundity, a phantom who has worn out his shadow, the man of letters diminishes with each word he writes. Only his vanity is inexhaustible; if it were psychological, it would have limits: those of the self. But it is cosmic or demonic: it submerges him. His “work” obsesses him; he continually alludes to it, as if, on our planet, there were nothing outside himself which deserved attention or curiosity. Woe to anyone with the imprudence or bad taste to discuss anything but his productions! You will understand, then, how one day, leaving a literary luncheon, I saw the necessity for a Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of men of letters.

It goes on, and can be found in this shard of light.

It’s as if Cioran were addressing me personally, with an open copy of Monsters in his lap. Or it would be, if i didn’t also know that comic books are far beneath the contempt of even those who denounce literature.

Anyway, Sick will be coming out soon, stay tuned.