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Projected Books

Barthes lists his "projected books" ("projets de livre"). I have a number of these myself. They evolve a bit over time, most of them have been with me for awhile, in some form, undercurrents, accompaniments to my daily self-composition, occasionally breaking the surface here or there in a passionate fragment, only to be shoved back under again. Invariably, each of these projected books constitutes an attempt to package some bit of my writerly self for sale and consumption, and reflects my too intimate acquaintance with the tastes and demands of the market: linear narrative, character through-story in fiction; the problem of platform in nonfiction. This attempt to package is almost always at odds with my practiced and devout existential resistance to packaging (Lloyd Dobler: "I do not want to buy, sell, or process anything processed"). Loosely constituted then (my discomfiting mental logorrhea) these projects include: the novel, the travel book, the essays on solitude, monasticism, nature, food--each has many permutations. The aims of each, to somehow redeem past experience and underwrite the indefinite future extension of such experience, in the expectation that it, too, in its turn, will be likewise redeemed by future projects. Projects, then, as a guarantee of future projects and of the material from which they are generated. An endless regeneration of writing, of travel, of solitude, of food, etc.
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Other projects: Pictographs (a compendium of memories retained as photographic imprints), Re-gi-na, In Fragments (the novel of love and suspended yearning). Another compendium: my biographia literaria. Still more: an ecstatic memoir, a teacher's memoir, a story of a life in divorce.