prepositions

“We say: to write about a subject, to write on a subject, to write of something; also to write for and against something or someone; also to write by a certain light, and with the implement of our choice, and to our correspondents. About, on, of, for, against, by, with, to: is there a logic in this set of prepositions, or a logic in the set of missing ones, like around, in, into, at, inside, outside? Would it be possible, and if so what would it be like, to write around, or in, or into – to write around politics, write in compost preparation, write into love, write at fiction, write inside the genesis of the universe, write outside a friend? (Is there yet another logic or consistency in the set of prepositions that I haven’t been able to think of at this moment?) Writing around a subject or a person seems a promising possibility. The subject or addressee would play a role like the letter e in La Disparition – never appearing and at the same time figuring as an object or unrelenting attention, staring us in the face all the harder for never being named. Writing in might require participation in the subject at the moment of writing – in the case of compost preparation, here I am knee-deep in mulch. (All writing would be an act of writing in writing.) Writing into: discovery, aggressive curiosity. Writing at: against, or towards, or in haphazard approach. And writing inside – inside the genesis of the universe: where else can one be? It’s all so easy then. (Forget belief.) And writing outside: out of a context larger than the subject, so that we can at last see it whole, as if we had only five minutes left to live, or five seconds.

Wainscott, 7/21/83″

(Harry Mathews, 20 Lines a Day, p. 46.)

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