apocalypse: n; 3. the fact that so many people, who could think otherwise, are unanimous with respect to judgments which are false is an

argument in favour of an apocalypse. 4. apocalypse is often unbearably seductive.


belief: n; 5. the ideal state for a believer is also the most unbearable, which is, that everyone is also a believer. the more accepted a belief

the more dubious it seems until at last, ascending to universality its claims of certainty become unbearable… every believer dreams as a heretic.


book: n; 4. when we read a book the book also reads us. and often, with nothing but platitudes and banalities before it, it is the book which

closes us and sets us aside.


bruise: n; the bruise is prodigious and germinal— the bruise of thinking, the bruise of sentiment, the bruise of dreaming, the bruise of

desire, the bruise of loss, the bruise of crisis, the bruise of elation, the bruise of ambiguity and doubt… the bruise is antecedent to

all things and all things, in every aspect of their being, cannot help but disclose their origin. just look closely enough and you will

see the posture, the gait of the bruise; listen attentively and you will hear the accent of the bruise; just reach out and you will understand,

as the world recoils, how the bruise persists in all things.


catastrophe: n; 2. it often seems that the most relevant creative activity occurs in the context of an unmistakable premonition of

impending catastrophe. for an artist such a catastrophe is almost always personal. its extension to a more inclusive, a more universal

catastrophe is an understandable attempt to make the best of a bad situation. a wish perhaps. and sometimes wishes come true, to the

horror of everyone else.


conflict: n; the conflict between oneself and the world was decided when the attainment of happiness was recognized as not only

self-evident but the only goal of earthly life. we are literally occupied by this so-called truth. loyal subjects, prisoners, collaborators,

or rebels we will never reclaim the home that was never ours to begin with. the battle was lost long before we were born— the result

of a betrayal of the highest order. for us, the defeated, the most that can be accomplished persists as vermin in underground passages,

a resistance which miraculously maintains that happiness is not a positive value, is not a something which suffering negates, but

is instead an ability to accommodate the suffering that is present, that is always present, every moment of one’s life.   


demon: n;   that we are frequented by demons, that we may even be intimate with them is not debatable. the question is whether they

are our ambassadors or we are theirs.


discontent: n; 2. if it is true that nature is content with very little nature must be quite discontented.


end: n; 4. an end is the torture exacted upon reason and experience.


eternity: n; 3. eternity regrets you.


exile: n; 9. lucidity and concision have become more than suspect associates, they have become heralds of exile.


gift: n; 5. it is not unreasonable or strange to buy a gift for someone who does not exist, or for someone who no longer exists.

and besides, these may be the only gifts we are capable of giving.


grace: n; 2. it is impossible to fall from grace when you have been nailed to it.


grimace: n; there are grimaces for which the face is the final resting place and which, in expiring there, they deform and debase it.

such grimaces collapse into the face from a life unlived, from a life actively and defiantly unexamined, from demands obligatorily

unmet, from desires passionately denied, from hope confidently and religiously silenced.


impatience: n; all insanity is a form of impatience.


leash: n; for all that is there exist two truths whose utter incommensurability is tolerated only because i am their leash.


madness: n; 3. all madness is a form of impatience.


memoir: n; those who have never had a thought have memoirs.


ordeal: n; 2. to write, to think the ordeal, to persist and to call this form, this style, exasperation is always the only task to be undertaken.


prophecy: n; 4. prophecy is the arithmetic of  fools.


prostration: n; without being aware of it all my actions have been prayers to and prostrations before the impossible— the only deity with

whom i have direct and unlimited communication.


refinement: n; there comes a point when one’s personal knowledge becomes so refined, so thorough and narrow, that it stands as nothing

more than a testament for all the necessary knowing that has been avoided at all costs.


silence: n; 9. for the writer that has truly written, for the thinker that has truly thought, silence is a reward. for all others silence is always

a punishment.


tolerance: n; 4. a writer is tolerated only because it is hoped , even expected, that one day it will denounce itself. such hopes, such expectations,

are not unjustified.


word: n; 4. we all have the words we deserve. and our words cannot help but carry into the world whatever treasures, whatever rot, that

constitutes our minds. 5. when the where and the how and the why something is said is all that matters, when it is denied that words say

anything, that they are just reflective surfaces, when what is said is thoroughly diluted with content (Finkielkraut), it is because one is

literally frightened to death by the reality that words in fact say everything, that they are dizzying and abysmal moments of being in a concise

and comprehensible form.


writer: n; 19. for any writer there is only one truth, and it is the most difficult truth to remain faithful to— a writer must write what is theirs

to write. sometimes profound, lifelong silences might be required in order to approach just such a unique creative possibility. and along with

silence there are the false starts, the labyrinths, the traps, and the seemingly endless forests of failure and banality that anticipate every courageous

exploration. it is therefore understandable why most would rather write specifically for the sake of writing, if only to avoid, with every word,

the responsibilities and the fidelity owed to the truth they cannot bear.





from the Endroom

(recent excerpts from A Personal Dictionary) 

Mike Schertzer, 2005