Finally I've caught up and read last week's New Yorker,
especially moved by Roland Barthes' grief notes,
which he started writing after the death of his 84-year-old
mother, Henriette. Perhaps these became the stuff of his
final book, Camera Lucida, which is a kind of tribute
to his 'maman' as he ruminates on photography
and memory and loss.
But these sweet, diary fragments are raw, made before theory,
in the middle of mourning. Translated by Richard Howard, Barthes'
notes capture that sense of upheaval that stalks you after loss.
Barthes lived with his mother all of his life. He died three years
after his mother.
I love the photo of them -- his long
legs, her long skirt, the sandy road.
In the sentence "She's no longer suffering,"to what, to whom does "she" refer?What does that present tense mean?~~Sometimes, very briefly, a blankmoment--a kind of numbness--whichis not a moment of forgetfulness.This terrifies me.~~The desires I had before her death(while she was sick) can no longerbe fulfilled, for that would mean it is herdeath that allows me to fulfill them--herdeath might be a liberation in some sensewith regard to my desires. But her deathhas changed me, I no longer desire whatI used to desire. I must wait--supposingthat such a thing could happen--for a newdesire to form, a desire following her death.~~A strange new acuity, seeing (in the street)people's ugliness or their beauty.~~I don't want to talk about it, for fearof making literature out of it--orwithout being sure of not doing so--although as a matter of factliterature originates within these truths.